Alphaville (1965)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Sci-Fi, Tech Noir  |   Release Date - Feb 7, 2014 (USA - Limited Rerelease)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - France , Italy   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Betzold

In 1965, six years after his feature film debut with the groundbreaking Breathless, writer-director Jean-Luc Godard was an acknowledged leader of the French New Wave. Entering his most prolific period, he produced one of his most ambitious and unusual films, a science-fiction comedy-thriller whose full title was Alphaville, une Etrange Aventure de Lemmy Caution. The character of Caution (Eddie Constantine) was familiar to French audiences as the action hero of a series of films. In Godard's script, Caution is pitted against a computer named Alpha 60 that runs a futuristic totalitarian state. Shot in a bizarrely transformed Paris without the use of special effects, Alphaville is both disturbing and entertaining, full of Godard's anarchic challenges to conventional cinematic technique, yet recognizable as part of the genre of dystopian portraits of the future that includes 1984 and Brave New World. Godard's nightmarish future includes whimsical touches of absurdist terror, such as capital punishment carried out as a sporting event in a pool. The movie combines elements of film noir, science fiction, and political satire to create a distinctive and unorthodox tableau of the future.