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ALPHAVILLE

Director: JEAN-LUC GODARD

99 minutes| France-Italy| 1965| Subtitled| Black and White| 35mm


For Alphaville, read ‘Godardville’: the enfant terrible of the French New Wave, at the height of his ‘accessible’ 1960s period, infuses the sci-fi genre with film noir tropes to create an incandescent portrait of alienation and automation. That said, don’t take this deadpan yarn (subtitled A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution) too seriously, since good old Jean-Luc clearly doesn’t. Utilising existing Parisian locations and an improvised script, JLG sends Eddie Constantine’s weary gumshoe Caution – a role B-movie vet Constantine had already essayed in several pulpy spy flicks – on a mission to destroy Alpha 60, the sentient computer suppressing freedom of thought in the eponymous future city. By turns poetic, allegorical and demented, Alphaville can be read in any number of ways, not least as the auteur’s homage to his beloved Fritz Lang. Raoul Coutard’s cinematography was never more stunning, nor in-house leading lady Anna Karena lovelier. Make no mistake, this is top-tier Godard. Devour.

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