Whanganui Film Society presents one of the iconic masterpieces of the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague): ALPHAVILLE (full title Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution).
Directed in 1965 by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Anna Karina and Eddie Constantine, Alphaville is a film noir sci-fi hybrid which utilised the modernist buildings of Paris to create a dystopian future. It is the first of three films in the Film Society's 2018 collection: Architecture in Film: Designing the Future which focuses on the role of architecture in films. Also in this collection are Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle (1958) which screens on May 28, and Ex Machina (2015) on June 11.
Alphaville has been restored and re-released and screens in HD.
Even when working with genre conventions in his early films Jean-Luc Godard had no interest in making conventional movies, and Alphaville, Godard's sole venture into science fiction is no exception ... Pulp-fiction secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), a character created by British writer Peter Cheyney and which Constantine had already played in many films, travels to the dystopian, technocratic world of Alphaville ... He poses as a journalist from the "Outlands" with a secret mission to neutralise the mastermind of Alphaville, Professor von Braun (Howard Vernon), and destroy Alpha 60, the super-computer that controls the city and its people, imposing its logical orientation on all aspects of social organisation. Individualism has been all but eliminated in the logical world of Alphaville. Thus in Alphaville emotion is forbidden, and anyone who reveals emotional behaviour, such as weeping, is arrested and executed in public spectacles ...
Despite the film's futuristic setting, Godard uses no special effects and no sets, but only actual locations in Paris, the city's modern (at the time) glass and concrete architecture convincingly signifying its dystopian vision. The seemingly endless corridors of office buildings through which Raoul Coutard's camera tracks indicates just how impersonal the world had already become. — Keith Grant, Sight & Sound
ALPHAVILLE (Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution) Monday, May 21, 7pm Davis Theatre, Whanganui Regional Museum Jean-Luc Godard • France/Italy • 1965 99 mins • B&W • PG In French with English subtitles