Monday, June 2, 2008
Jean-Luc Godard's "Alphaville" (1965)
Alphaville is a 1960's science fiction film that blends science, pulp noir-inspired characters, and surrealism all in one. This film lives up greatly to the extended title of "A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution". It sure was a strange, strange one. This is not a shock to me, since the film was directed by Jean-Luc Godard, one of the pioneers of the French novella vague genre, which is about as unconventional as they come. If you go into this film expecting straight forward science fiction elements combined with a normal love story, you're going to be disappointed. This film is laced with surrealistic and poetic concepts and ideas that might mean absolutely nothing to you. It may be better to watch another Godard film, like Breathless, prior to seeing this one. Don't let that scare you off as a potential viewer though. This film is well worth watching if you can open your mind a little in order to enjoy.
Lemmy Caution is an American private-eye from the Outland sent to the fascist city of Alphaville. His mission is to kill Doctor Von Braun, the creator of the also fascist Alpha 60 computer. Von Braun, the city ruler, has outlawed love and self-expression among the citizens of Alphaville. Eddie Constantine stars as the detective Lemmy Caution and Anna Karina stars as Natasha Von Braun, daughter of the fascist leader.
The whole world of Alphaville and Lemmy Caution's journey through it is downright strange and entertaining. From the way the world's society conducts things like executions to the trained seductresses the hotel supplies for it's guests to the removal of words from the language. It's truly a visionary film of a very eccentric nature. I promise if you choose to watch this film with your eyes and ears and brain wide open you'll get some satisfaction out of it. Perhaps because I love all the elements Godard mashed together and his quirky directing and film making style, I loved it that much more.
4.5 STARS OUT OF 5