"All things weird are normal in this whore of cities."
- Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine)
Description by OLDIES.com:
A cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry, Godard's irreverent journey to the mysterious Alphaville remains one of the least conventional films of all time. Eddie Constantine stars as intergalactic hero Lemmy Caution, on a mission to kill the inventor of fascist computer Alpha 60. Criterion's edition of this seminal film features a new digital transfer.
With 1965's ALPHAVILLE--part sci-fi action film, part noir thriller--the acclaimed French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard achieves a stunningly clinical futurism using absolutely no special visual effects. The result is a moving, original film that, with its abstract, political, and intellectual themes, essentially redefines the apocalyptic science fiction genre. ALPHAVILLE, clearly the product of one of cinema's greatest contributors, is nothing less than a bona fide cult classic.
A bizarre space-chase across a glass and metal landscape of futuristic Paris--here called Alphaville--is the movie's premise. Creating a dystopian "tomorrow" characterized by alienation and cold corporate comforts, Godard slyly suggests that the future is now. Secret agent man Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) travels across the expanses of intergalactic space and time to uncover the fate of his missing predecessor. Working under the alias of Ivan Johnson, Caution is accompanied in his quest by the lovely Natasha Vonbraun (Anna Karina), the daughter of a supposedly missing professor. Caution later discovers that the elder Vonbraun is the mastermind behind Alpha 60--the rigid, masterful computer that governs Alphaville. Alpha's job is to crush individuality, eradicating any human being who does not conform. Ultimately, Lemmy is left with no other choice but to destroy the calculating chip-and-wire monolith, with the only weapons he has left: his heart and soul.
Cult Film |
Essential Cinema |
Film Noir |
New Wave (Film) |
Science Fiction |
Released theatrically (in France): May 5, 1965.
U.S. theatrical release date: October 25, 1965.
Shot on location in Paris, France.
Winner of Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival.
Every scene was shot in one take in natural darkness; thus, many shots had to be destroyed because it was too dark for the film to record the image properly.
Script girl Suzanne Schiffman later served as a writer and assistant director on a number of Francois Truffaut films.
Down The Rabbit Hole
Movie Lover: FilmFlops Critic from
Trumbull, CT US -- May, 17, 2006
A very strange yet compelling movie. I think that "Alphaville" is more social satire than sci-fi/pulp detective/existential gobbledygook, but it is a tough film to characterize/label. The fact that the film defies description draws the viewer into the story. Several subtle touches of humor add to its appeal. A film that should be seen if for no other reason than to say that you have seen it! Vive Godard! This DVD represents another masterful restoration project/product by Criterion. Most versions of "Alphaville" that were extant prior to the Criterion release were of very inferior quality in all respects.