Alphaville

Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution
DCP projection source
1965
France
99 min.
French

Schedule

Friday, Mar. 16 at 7:30pm

A cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry, Jean-Luc Godard’s irreverent journey to the mysterious Alphaville remains one of the least conventional films of all time. Eddie Constantine stars as intergalactic hero Lemmy Caution, on a mission to eliminate Professor Von Braun, the creator of the malevolent Alpha 60, a computer that rules the city of Alphaville. Befriended by the scientist’s beautiful daughter Natasha (Godard muse Anna Karina), Lemmy must unravel the mysteries of the strictly logical Alpha 60 and teach Natasha the meaning of the word “love.”

Calling the film a “hyper-sci-fi-meta-noir, which skylarks about an absurd dystopian future in the wet streets of 1965 Paris,” the Village Voice’s Michael Atkinson describes “Alphaville” as “all totemic genre gestures all the time”: “Everything is a dislocated signifier of totalitarian confusion — language, institutional sex, assassination attempts, scientific lingo, modernist architecture, bureaucracy, human emotion (officially outlawed, but shruggingly prevalent), Anna Karina’s luminous eyes. But it’s all also a Godardian gag, a riff on artifice and the blithe joy of cinematic bullshit. Iconic in its very grain, the film toggles effortlessly between toast-dry farce and vogueing postwar hipitude, and like the balletic swimmers performing mid-pool state executions, it’s a thing of insensible beauty.”

Director

Jean-Luc Godard

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Andrew Wyatt, film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens and the Gateway Cinephile film blog.