By Chris Darke
A outstanding black-and-white hybrid of movie noir and technological know-how fiction, "Alphaville" (1965) is now some of the most enduringly renowned of Jean-Luc Godard 's motion pictures of the Sixties. operating with out units, lighting tricks, or perhaps a script, Godard created a dystopian imaginative and prescient of a technocratic urban of the longer term, which resonates with filmmakers at the present time. "Alphaville" pits undercover agent Lemmy warning (Eddie Constantine) opposed to Alpha 60, the super-computer that presides over a urban the place weeping is outlawed, poetry is going unrecognised and the phrases 'conscience' and 'love' have ceased to exist. Lemmy's venture is to trap the renegade scientist Professor von Braun (Howard Vernon) yet is complex whilst he falls in love with the Professor's ravishing daughter, Natasha (Anna Karina). during this first ever exploration of Godard's masterpiece, released at the 40th anniversary of its liberate, Chris Darke uncovers the film's certain mix of genres and kinds and attracts on new interviews with the director's collaborators to chronicle the film's construction. Analysing "Alphaville" in its ancient context, he additionally examines how the movie in fluenced Godard's later paintings, in addition to exploring Alphaville's 'afterlife' within the paintings of alternative filmmakers and artists.
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Additional info for Alphaville (Cine-File French Film Guides)
As she raises the cigarette to her lips to accept the light from Lemmy, Natasha stands in the darkened doorway of his room and moves slightly towards the left of the frame which is bisected, half in darkness, half in light. She moves away from darkness towards the light and this movement will come to define her journey throughout the film. 11 A creature but not a native of Alphaville, Natasha is unfamiliar with the light (let alone the word) of ‘love’ that Lemmy has carried to her Fire versus electricity: light motifs in Alphaville 44 A L P H AV I L L E across ‘intersidereal space’.
49 GODARDVILLE 25 ‘Dystopia’ really came into its own around the middle of the 20th century, encouraged by a brace of nightmarish fictional speculations that included Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924), Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Its contemporary coinage was the work of Glen Negley and J. Max Patrick, a pair of American scholars who, in 1952, published The Quest for Utopia. 51 Dystopias extrapolate from the present those signs of modernity the promise of which is at best ambiguous and at worse downright frightening, and, in so doing, they hold the idea of ‘progress’ at an ironic, allegorical distance the better to question it.
It is not only the technical innovations of its cinematography and lighting that makes Alphaville a ‘film about light’. It is so because light is both the substance and theme of the film and is treated on many levels. Pushed to extremes of luminosity and shadow, its black and white film summons forth from the history of cinema the ‘haunted’ light of German Expressionism and film noir. But the spectrum of light motifs from which Godard draws is wider than just film-historical. City of Light and home to those ‘brothers-in-light’ who ‘invented’ cinema, les frères Lumières, Paris is transformed into Alphaville, City of Night and Capital of Pain, a nocturnal technocracy illuminated by a post-atomic brilliance burning more brightly than a thousand suns.
Alphaville (Cine-File French Film Guides) by Chris Darke