Alphaville, Une Étrange Aventure De Lemmy Caution
There are two ways to watch Alphaville. One, you think of the film as a precursor to so many sci-fi films that were to use similar themes and construction or two, take it as another one of Godard’s games with the genre system and his stand against the occidental culture. I chose the second. True, it has striking images and notions that remind one of later films like Solaris (1972, the human dimension of space conquest), Blade Runner (1982, the dystopian setup devoid of warmth) and even 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, HAL 9000 and Alpha 60 may pass off as cousins!), but I felt that Godard never intends to show to us a conventional narrative or a genuine sci-fi thriller.
This time over, Godard pays his tribute to the stalwarts of the 20’s who defined German expressionism. The character named Leonard Nosferatu, the film-noir like texture of the film and the whole theme of the film that echoes Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) are indications of nothing but Godard’s heartfelt homage to his idols. However, he never lets us sink into the film as the expressionist classics passionately did and constantly interrupts out attention with high-pitched beeps and occasional use of negatives that abruptly flip the colour scheme.
In the film Godard presents a world ruled by logic and precision where emotions don’t have any vitality. Poetry is extremely mysterious and malicious content and so is love. In such a place, all that matters are the absolute numbers and objective quantities. In other words, everything is commodified and its value measured against standards calculated solely by artificial intelligence. Godard explores the extremities of a fascist regime whose capitalistic policies thrive on quantity rather than quality and each person is no more than a unique number in an infinite list. Lesser didactic than many Godard works, Alphaville still retains Godard’s philosophical monologues that have become a staple in his films.