Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 30, 2024


Sipping an espresso, Brigitte Bardot, 30, is photographed on the set of "Le Mepris" ("Contempt"). The 1963 French new wave drama was directed and written by Jean Luc-Godard, based on the 1954 Italian novel, “Il Dispresso. 

Legendary German film director Fritz Lang has a cameo appearance playing himself. 

Actress Bardot in a scene from the film "Le Mepris" ("Contempt" in English).

The self-conscious movie believed by many to simply showcase Bardot's stunning nude body was filmed on location in and around Casa Malaparte.  The neo-surreal villa was built on Punta Masullo (east side of Italian island of Capri) for writer Curzio Malaparte. Designed and built between 1937 and 1942, the modernistic gem still exists although it has been renovated and is currently privately owned.  

True to its name, this column wanders from one topic to another sometimes with little segue.  In keeping with that chaos of creativity we digress to the first owner of Casa Malaparte.  Perhaps, the Hunter Thompson of his day, Curzio Malaparte (1898-1957) was born of a German father and Italian mother.  His real name was Curt Erich Suckert.  Malaparte became his pen name, a Gonzo literary device because it was the antithesis of Napoleon Buonaparte: good side/bad side.  For example, in two works by Curzio [Kaputt, 1944 and The Skin, 1944], he tries to live up to his bad boy reputation as a journalist and writer provocateur.

Journalist/Author Curzio Malaparte in the living room of his seaside villa

In a curiosity of history, Malaparte was banished from Rome because he had a falling out with the Fascist leaders then in power in Italy.  Like Napoleon Buonaparte's exiles to Elba and St. Helena, Curzio Malaparte was "deported" in style to  a truly gorgeous spit of land jutting out into the Bay of Salerno, near Naples.  How the political exile got his money to build the Casa might make for a better plot and movie than Le Mepris, n'est-ce-pas?

It can be said he is remembered best for his house and not his career.  The house lives on.  It appeared in the second half of the Bardot flick and impressively it is featured prominently in a Louis Vuitton commercial. A very young American actress stars in the commercial.  See link below:

Photo of Brigitte (in public domain) by Marceau-Cocinor/Les Films Concordia/ Georges de Beauregard/ Carlo Ponti/ Collection Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images).

Casa Malaparte by architect Adalberto Libera

In this image the stairs leading to the villa from the sea are visible as is the coy privacy wall atop the roof, where Bardot was sunbathing.


Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living. Sent by Corriere della Sera, an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte wrote Kaputt, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. 

Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved. Kaputt is an insider’s dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing.  The work remains available on the Internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment