Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville is one of those movies, like Kurosawa's Rashomon, that I find more interesting to talk about than to watch. It's not boring to watch, but it's not particularly engaging either. It's fascinating to think about and talk about, but I found myself rather disengaged from it as a viewing experience. It's neat to see how Godard turned present (well, 1965 present) day Paris into a futuristic dystopian city without any special effects, but I felt a distance from the movie as a whole.

The movie isn't that much new in its basic plot, it's a dystopian "one disillusioned man, finding love, saves the world" kinda thing we've seen and read a million times. But Godard's fresh take on creating his world, and since it has no SFX it has a real lived-in, tangible quality that a lot of sci-fi misses with its sets and effects. The grounding performance from Eddie Constantine as our hero Lemmy Caution also helps this. He's kinda like Bogart, but a little older and tougher and no nonsense. It works well. Sci-fi and noir have always made a great combination, and Alphaville is no exception.

But again, the movie didn't engage me like I wanted it to. Perhaps I was just in the wrong mood for it, I'm not sure. Since I need to delve more into Godard's work, of which I'm painfully ignorant, I'm sure I'll revisit this again some day. For now, it's admirable and I didn't think it a failure, but it did leave me a bit cold.

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