Jean-Luc Godard’s Le mépris: Conventional film music in an unconventional guise | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-4193
  • E-ISSN: 1751-4207

Abstract

Godard revisits in (1963) the Hollywood genre of the melodrama which enjoyed a large popularity in the 1950s. For this self-conscious reflection upon the genre of the melodrama, Godard hired Georges Delerue to write the music. Due to the involvement of the powerful mainstream cinema producers Carlo Ponti and Joseph E. Levine, grew into a sizeable Hollywood-style production. Under the looking glass of these producers, Godard was expected to abandon his eccentric small-film budget habits and to comply with standard film production procedure. Pertaining to the music (and against his usual modus operandi), he conceived, together with Delerue, a detailed musical concept, spotted the film with Delerue present, integrated each and every cue Delerue composed into the film and respected the placement of the music cues as discussed with the composer. Nevertheless, behind the back of his producers, he was frequently tempted to diverge from the accepted norms and played with audience expectations. He introduced unexpected twists into the placement of the cues, which invite the audio viewer to question the established film music standards. Despite the rigid brief Godard received from his producers, he managed to dissect – with the assistance of Delerue’s lush, Hollywood-style score – the worn-out mechanics of the cinematic apparatus. The over-emphatic, idiomatic and stereotypical symphonic score inspired him to break the illusion of the artificially staged narrative.

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2021-10-01
2024-04-15
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