Precious Bodily Fluids

Alphaville

Menage e trois

Menage e trois

Alphaville appears to be the apex of Godard’s imagination and ideology, if not its synthesis. It is, along with so many of his 60s films, a cinematic excuse to spout various pensées that cohesively tie with the theme of the film and even the form, but appear to be little more than spontaneous bullet points uttered by Alpha 60, the sinister stand-in for Godard himself. Toying with film noir and the image of Bogart as usual, Alphaville takes anti-capitalist economics and pseudo-socialist politics to what may be their logical ends: a dystopic world in a parallel universe, totalitarian through its frighteningly perfect rationality. It almost appears as if Godard is lamenting in advance an embrace of ideology void of the affections. Society is not greater than love, but love begets the perfect society. Melodrama may be employed here tongue-in-cheek, along with every other genre Godard enlists, but we have learned that when Godard is least serious he is most earnest.

Eternal, circuitous despotism

Eternal, circuitous despotism

Alphaville2

Alphaville3

Alphaville4

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This entry was published on September 8, 2009 at 8:11 am. It’s filed under 1960s Cinema, French Film, Jean-Luc Godard and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Alphaville

  1. great review! concise and simple.

  2. jamiependergrass on said:

    Just watching the other day and I realized that most of what Alpha 60 ‘spouts’ is actually taken from the work of Jorge-Luis Borges. The end bit, I can’t quote off the top of my head, but it includes a tiger image, a river image and a time image, is from the lesser-known ‘La Nueva Refutacion del tiempo”…

  3. Fascinating. And “lesser-known,” indeed. I’ve looked this up and verified it (not that I doubted you). Not surprising that Godard was quite familiar with Borges’ work. Provocative that he gave Borges’ lines to the evil, inhuman voice of Alphaville.

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