Alphaville (Cine-File French Film Guides) by Chris Darke

By Chris Darke

A extraordinary black-and-white hybrid of movie noir and technological know-how fiction, "Alphaville" (1965) is now probably the most enduringly well known of Jean-Luc Godard 's movies of the Nineteen Sixties. operating with no units, lighting tricks, or perhaps a script, Godard created a dystopian imaginative and prescient of a technocratic urban of the long run, 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 challenge is to trap the renegade scientist Professor von Braun (Howard Vernon) yet is advanced while 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 unencumber, Chris Darke uncovers the film's targeted blend of genres and kinds and attracts on new interviews with the director's collaborators to chronicle the film's creation. Analysing "Alphaville" in its old context, he additionally examines how the movie in fluenced Godard's later paintings, in addition to exploring Alphaville's 'afterlife' within the paintings of different filmmakers and artists.

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Extra info for Alphaville (Cine-File French Film Guides)

Example text

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. Our guide to this overlit underworld is Lemmy Caution, Orpheus in a trenchcoat. 9 The inhabitants of Alphaville depend on electricity for their survival, but, as Kaja Silverman has observed, ‘[T]hey have forgotten the sacred origins of light.

8. Anna Karina interviewed by Colin MacCabe, National Film Theatre, London, June 2001. Jackson, Kevin, ‘The divine Miss K gets real’, The Independent, 29 June 2001. Atkinson, Michael, ‘Anna Karina’s magnificent movieness’, Village Voice, 15 August 2001. Farber, Manny, ‘Jean-Luc Godard’, in M. Farber, Negative Space: Manny Farber on the Movies (Da Capo Press, New York, 1998), p. 266. ‘Entretien avec Eddie Constantine’, Cinématographe 63, 1980. Godard claimed that it had been been Constantine’s wish to make a vampire film.

2 The shape of things Light that goes… Lemmy Caution’s light sabre Alpha 60: What transforms night into day? Lemmy Caution: Poetry. THE SHAPE OF THINGS 39 In a 1965 interview with Le Monde Godard stated, ‘We shot at night because night means adventure and romance. ’1 Which is a bit like a writer describing a novel as being ‘about’ words or a painter saying a painting is ‘about’ paint. The phrase is reassuringly Godardian, a statement of the ontologically obvious that, on examination, reveals the paradox that illuminates it.

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