Alphaville

Alphaville ★★★½

'Alphaville' must have been conceived at the intersection between noir, science fiction and Godard. The lead, the whiskey swilling, two-fisted, fedora-and-trench coat wearing Lemmy Caution, is an affectionate parody of just about every noir anti-hero just as the film is an affectionate missive to everything pulp. But surprisingly, 'Alphaville' is also Godard at his most unabashedly romantic, waxing poetically and without a trace of irony about the triumph of art and love over a dictatorship of logic and reason in service of the greater good.

What is most fascinating about the film is how Godard manages to evoke the future out of a contemporary Paris without the use of a single special effect. By photographing modernist buildings at night, in very high contrast, in tight mediums, and all but eschewing establishing shots, we never get enough perspective on the architecture to make it distractingly recognizable (except in the moments when Godard specifically wants it to be). Futurism purely through composition; a masterclass in low budget artistry.