Alphaville

Alphaville ★★★★★

I yet understood how some people fawned over the early works of Jean-Luc Godard in how they adapted (primarily) American cinematic genres and conventions—Bande à part is the biggest offender for I see little interest in its heist/western inspirations. Then came Alphaville, which not only has Godard making the best usage of genre trappings, but also sees Godard at his best by mixing the intelligence of his criticism and the emotional power of his stars to craft a tour de force of French cinema.

Inspired by Paul Éluard's Capital of Pain and the noir thrillers in which Eddie Constantine starred, Alphaville describes a future set in the present, the modern becoming what seems alien and far off. Happiness and love are dead; reason survives on contradiction, for without emotion, what can follow in its absence? The technocratic society mimics no set society, but the science fiction roots that Godard fixates on are no less strange than the world he inhabited in 1965—prostitution is a laissez faire exchange of pleasure and money; political thought becomes conformist nonsense; and love flourishes on the fact it no longer exists, merely an advertising tool for the status quo. The only civilization which can exist, therefore, is one of longing pain. Logic becomes illogical, and the past and future seem less real than time as it stands through conscience thought. Robotic motions, darkness despite signs of light, Alphaville is a world that already exists if one forgets what life can be, already is, and has been for centuries. The only solution is to find a solution within the lack of solution.

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