Alphaville

Alphaville

I kind of have to respect Godard and his openly contradictory nature that he puts into all of his films. To make Alphaville—at its most basic level—a film about the importance of love, a discovery to the importance of individualized emotions while his marriage with Anna Karina was near or at its end. Moreover, her character here, Natacha Von Braun, does not exactly have a grandiose moment of self-discovery. Only towards the end does it start, but it is still a long, unknown, and possibly perilous journey. Is this a science fiction story that is our present reality, where for Godard that reality was impending divorce, so the discovery of the phrase I love you, that you actually refers to oneself. So, in essence Natacha is saved by Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), but her recognition of love, despite it appearing to be directed towards a man, is what ultimately liberates her. Did I just somehow find an extremely roundabout way to call Godard a narcissist???

I am being a little facetious, throwing out some ideas that I know contradict each other, but this is the only way I am ever able to make sense of Godard's films. Especially when he has real-time autobiographic elements in them. That aside though, Alphaville maps Paris out in the coldest of ways possible—Malle’s version of Paris from Elevator to the Gallows 7(000) years later. Buildings have that interior emptiness typical of film noir on top of the intense focus on the exterior mechanization of the city. Logic based existence tears away the capacity for interiority; emotions incompatible with the mechanics of an industrial, consumerist cityscape. Only Godard would introduce this world with his futurist version of a prostitute and have people be executed by being shot into a swimming pool, finished off by getting stabbed by women who act as synchronous swimmers. I am not exactly sure why I like Godard, but these rambling words are the means to such self-expression.

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