Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alphaville (1965)

Starring Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Laszlo Szabo, Howard Vernon
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
(actor & director credits courtesy

A secret agent is sent on a mission to the city of Alphaville, home to a powerful supercomputer that completely dominates the people and is waging war with its enemies.

Possessing the look and tone of a hard-boiled 1940s film noir, complete with black-and-white photography, voice-over narration, and a grizzled cynical lead in Eddie Constantine, Godard's film uses that setting as a springboard to launch into a poetic exploration of man and existence, not easily decipherable upon first viewing.  It's a marvelous film to look at and is filled with unusual edgy scenes including at a hotel where "seductresses" take guests to their rooms and offer personal service, and at a swimming pool where independent thinkers are executed and finished off by elegant swimmers toting knives.  I can't say this type of moviemaking is my particular cup of tea, but I can respect it as an art film, although not one I truly understand yet.

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