Villa Malaparte

Movie Contempt Jean-Luc Godard (1963)
Would Contempt have had as much impact on the cinema if it had been filmed elsewhere than at the Malaparte villa in Capri? A surprising residence for a mythical film.
Villa Malaparte Capri
- Photo Wikimedia Commons by Peter Schüle

“- Why don’t you love me anymore?

– That’s life.

– Why do you despise me?

– That I will never tell you.

Camille Javal (Brigitte Bardot) and Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli)

In April 1963, Jean-Luc Godard started the cranking of his new project, Le Mépris. A film freely adapted from the eponymous novel by Alberto Moravia. The producers are betting heavily on this feature film, especially for its export to the United States. At first, the main roles were offered to Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak, then to Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot finally play Paul and Camille Javal.

Shooting at Villa Malaparte

The team moves into the famous Malaparte villa. An architectural jewel planted in the middle of a fantastic setting on a cliff of Capri. Although it is very isolated and impractical, the house attracts the paparazzi by the mere presence of Brigitte Bardot. Jean-Luc Godard even has to chase some of them into the rocks to make them run away.

But these are not the only difficulties the filmmaker has to face. While he was filming, Brigitte Bardot’s “choucroute” got in the way. He then asks her if he can flatten it a bit. When he refused, Jean-Luc Godard offered him a deal. “It’s at least fifteen centimeters your thing. If I walk on my hands, for every meter you walk on your hands, will you agree to lower your hairstyle by one centimeter? The actress accepts and the filmmaker executes, walking several meters in this position under the astonished look of his team. Brigitte Bardot thus goes through the hairstyle.

And my editing, do you like my editing?

Another difficulty occurs at the end of the first montage. The producers Carlo Ponti and Joseph E. Levine are unhappy. They want to see the naked body of Brigitte Bardot. Levine even exclaimed “No, no, that’s not right, I want to see Bardot’s ass”. Annoyed by this request, Jean-Luc Godard gives in and shoots a scene that has become mythical today. Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli are lying on a bed and the actress reviews the parts of her body in an intimate sequence, platonic but no less sensual with this famous line ” And my buttocks, do you like my buttocks? “. Thus, Godard satisfies the demand. Not without contempt.


Contempt required 32 days of shooting, divided between the Cinecittà studios in Rome and the Villa Malaparte in Capri.

Scène a la villa Malaparte dans Le Mépris
Scène a la villa Malaparte dans Le Mépris – Crédit photo : Rome-Paris Films, Les Films Concordia, Compagnia Cinematografica Champion
Scène a la ville Malaparte dans Le Mépris
Scène a la ville Malaparte dans Le Mépris
Scène a la villa Malaparte dans Le Mépris
Scène a la villa Malaparte dans Le Mépris – Crédit photo : Rome-Paris Films, Les Films Concordia, Compagnia Cinematografica Champion

Casa Malaparte

Built between 1938 and 1943, Casa Malaparte is the result of a furious desire of the writer Curzio Malaparte to live in a spectacular landscape of Capri.

Adalberto Libera, the architect in charge of the project, drew up the first plans for the sumptuous villa located on an inaccessible plot of 12,000m2. But the collaboration between the architect and the writer did not go as planned and Curzio Malaparte finished his house with the help of a local mason.

Long abandoned after the death of its owner in 1957, the house was restored in the years 1980-1990 by Malaparte’s grand-nephew, Niccolo Rositani.

Today, many cultural events take place in Casa Malaparte, especially for architects and enthusiasts from around the world. Accessible by sea or on foot, the villa is a real challenge in every sense of the word.

Go there

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During his studies in anthropology at the Sorbonne, Jean-Luc Godard assiduously attended the film clubs of the capital. He became friends with André Bazin, Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette and Éric Rohmer….

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By Damien Duarte

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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