Jean Luc-Godard’s 1963 New Wave drama, Contempt (Le Mépris) was dusted down for a 60th-anniversary restoration and screening at Cannes in May. Embodying ideas of creative freedom, art, sensuality, and above all the liberty to make artistic choices based on one’s own desire, it has been described as the first post-modern movie ever made. And accompanying it was Godard Bardot, the work of our own Jean Curran who created a series of 13 handmade dye-transfer photographs printed from the stills of its original reel.
This is the first time that the estate of Brigitte Bardot, who starred in Contempt, allowed the actor’s nudes to be depicted in such a manner. “She’s in charge and in control of her sexuality.” The depiction of Bardot is akin to the art-historical reclining nude. “It embodies all of these things: questions about sexual liberty, questions about artistic liberty,” she says. Curran had previously turned her attention to Hitchcock with The Vertigo Project which used the same dye transfer process by which the movie was made to develop 20 photographs.
“It’s very much about having the freedom to be the artist you want to be. Godard’s referencing so many things and movements within it and was the first person to break filmmaking open and move forward,” adds Curran.