Alphaville (Alphaville, une etrange aventure de Lemmy Caution)


All things weird are normal in this whore of cities.

There are an awful lot of directors on the list, and an awful lot of them that have an awful lot of films that appear. One of these directors that I have yet to get to (besides Breathless) is Jean-Luc Godard; I’ve only seen one of the eight films he has on the list, so let’s try and have some fun with a Godard-a-thon, shall we? First up is a little film called Alphaville, Godard’s venture into post-apocalyptic science fiction that takes place in an alternate present, or the very near future, or something; I couldn’t really make out which. Really, it was hard to make anything out; not because it was deliberately confusing, but because the film was so horribly made.

The film can only be described as signature Godard, in that it makes so many mistakes that you’d think a middle-schooler would have made this film. The story is rather disjointed; there was a specific example where Lemmy Caution, the main character, interacts with the supercomputer in charge of Alphaville, and then in a later scene seems to have no knowledge of it and even has to ask a man he is talking with what it is. The sound design was really weird; the foley work was either over-exaggerated or completely nonexistent, leaving sounds too hyperbolic to be real, or just a blank emptiness where there should be sound. All this seemed to be in line with Godard’s ethos I first experienced in Breathless; to make you always remember that you are watching a movie, by adding bunches of little imperfections so that you can never truly fall into or immerse yourself in one of his films. It can get really annoying at points, and I can only hope that Godard will eventually mature and grow out of this experimental phase, but then again, he most likely wouldn’t be the same Godard. I don’t know why these little touches of imperfection were so finely wrought in Breathless, yet feel so amateur here; maybe it’s just the mindset of watching the film, and I guess I just wasn’t in the right mindset to appreciate this one. Oh, one last thing: the voice used for the all-knowing computer is probably the creepiest voice I’ve heard yet in cinema; it comes up about a minute into the film, so you’ll immediately know what I mean.

Frankly, I’m not too sure I like what Godard is doing with his films. If anyone were to do what Godard does, they’d immediately be called out for not knowing how to properly construct a film, or put it together; there’s just way too many things that would be labeled as mistakes, and rookie mistakes at that. So just because Godard was the first to really do these things at a professional level, that means he can get away with it and have his work called genius instead of a sloppily-made piece of crap? Sorry, but not by my standards. Now, I’m not saying that Alphaville is a sloppy piece of crap (at the very least, it succeeds due to its mood and its style, as perfunctory as it seemed at times), but I can’t excuse the filmmakers for getting away with something that I as a filmmaker would never be able to get away with; it’s the definition of a double standard, and I for one won’t have it. I can only hope Godard’s other works, or at the very least his later stuff, is up to a different level, or I might’ve bitten off something I’d rather not chew with this little marathon of mine.

Arbitrary Rating: 6/10


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