A US secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler.
Dense, uncanny, avant-gardist, visionary, are some of the many qualities that we can label on the films of Jean-Luc Godard during the 1960’s. His love of Cinema, especially American genre pictures and B-Movies made him the director he was. Each of his films of this era owes a great deal to the likes of Robert Aldrich, Otto Preminger, and Nicholas Ray amongst many others. The most famous New Waver along with the late François Truffaut, Godard was at the peak of his career in 1965 and he was directing films in full speed, all that with few means. However, as every film he has ever made, he uses the message of imagination over everything. Few Science-Fiction films were made by the French New Wave, and Alphaville is one of the most unique films of the genre and the whole group of cineastes. With Truffaut’s hit or miss Fahrenheit 451, Godard delivers a genuinely intelligent mix of private detective meets its near future.
Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constatine) arrives in Alphaville in on a planet similar to the Earth. This environment has forbidden sentiments and personalities to its inhabitants. With his American values, Caution must find a missing person and escape the world of Alphaville.
Ultimately influencing hundreds of its followers, the concept of dystopia and near nihilist future are themes that Godard will overly reuse and exploit ad infinitum in his post May 68 period. In Alphaville, the cineaste uses his lover Anna Karina in a very unique way. Her naïve traits and lectures give to her character, Natacha von Braun, a tragic inhuman robotic presence. Despite being a little limited acting wise, Karina achieves to be particularly convincing with the culmination of the ending when she almost whispers the words: “Je vous aime” (I love you).
Just like George Orwell with his 1984 or Aldous Huxley with his Brave New World, Jean-Luc Godard elevates the “propos” of his film along those masterpieces that reveals the malignant and devious tendencies of the post-modern world. Added to that, Alphaville is still an entertainment of high value while it inspires great thoughts and self-study of our societies.
Along with À bout de souffle (Breathless), Pierrot le fou, Le mépris (Contempt), Bande à part, Alphaville is the cream of the whole corpus of films that Godard directed. Highly recommended.