Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contempt & the odyssey of design

I have neglected my blog! Through means beyond my control... I had to get my appendix removed last week and have been flat on my back in recovery for about a week now. The good news is, I have had much well-needed sleep and peace, and with the help from the Percocet family, I have been able to finally settle myself into a comfortable routine. Which of course includes a French movie marathon!

Today I saw Contempt for the first time, Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film staring the beautiful Brigitte Bardot. (I'm not one much for blonde's but this film flirts with the concept of a good vs. bad housewife in which Bardot, called "Camille," portrays by alternating in and out of a black bob wig. So cute!)

Besides the failing relationship/communication breakdown between men and women typical to Godard's scripts, this flick had a secondary source of intrigue based on the main character's struggle between "artistic expression and commercial opportunity" (Wikipedia said it best). In short, the screen writer husband becomes so wrapped up in his latest sale of an adaptation to Homer's Odyssey that he neglects to notice the fading adoration of his wife, Camille. The success of his career begins the deterioration of their marriage, which naturally ends tragically just as Camille has the confidence to leave him. Saw that coming from a mile away...

The integration of both narratives happens almost subconsciously through the subtle use of decor and colors throughout the film. I have noticed most of Godard's films from the 60's use a very Mondrian palate, with balanced use of red, blue and yellow, and this one is no exception.

The fusion of an emerging modern era and the tidbits of historical representations of The Odyssey are brilliant! From the (almost ridiculous) primary colored painted Greek sculptures, to the eclectic furnishings in their apartment.
This scene has some great images of the statues, in addition to showing the production of the altered Odyssey script.

I particularly love their living room, which is simple and exciting at the same time. Cherry red modern mid-century sofa's mixed with aged metal sculptures and over sized vases of flowers. A room with a view, both inside and out.

Again, the Mondrian rectangles represented in the windows and square furniture mingle with remnants of the past; the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine, where modern meets obsolete. It's cohesive with the starkness of the white walls and luxurious shag carpet, the ample natural light and lack of clutter.
Overall I enjoyed this film for it's lonely, beautiful nature. I am inspired to decorate using the same technique of effortless collection, and I think anyone can do it too, just follow a few rules. Be selective, and keep a neutral back ground. Oh, and if you live on Capri Island, that helps too! Ciao

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