Quick recap: Secret Agent Lemmy Caution has been sent to Alphaville to locate a missing spy and destroy the city’s ruler- a computer named Alpha 60.
Fun (?) fact: Although it is a sci-fi film, director Jean-Luc Godard shot all scenes in real places around Paris and only used conventional firearms.
My thoughts: I had no idea what the hell was going on through most of the movie, and I’m still not sure what the ending was all about. Alphaville is one of those films pretentious people latch on to, but the general public would be bored to tears by it. There are many movies like that, including ones that I personally love, but this one just seemed to be pretentious for the sake of being pretentious. The director is French, after all, so maybe that’s why.
The plot of Alphaville is simple enough: spy comes to kill tyrannical leader who happens to be a supercomputer. A supercomputer in the 1960s, of course. If it was set in modern times, Lemmy Caution might be trying to murder Siri or something similar. The computer is all about logical thinking and holds executions for anyone who shows emotion, which is considered illogical thought. So, pretty straightforward, except that it wasn’t. There are several scenes in which Caution or the computer is talking and I had NO IDEA what they were saying. In looking up trivia for the movie later on, I found that many of the lines came from poetry, but it just sounded like beautiful nonsense in the context of the movie. I was also too caught up in the sci-fi details to really focus on the plot, like trying to figure out if Alphaville is a city or a planet and why it looks so similar to Paris.
Stripped down to its basic premise, Alphaville’s version of reality was quite interesting. Instead of a Bible, citizens use a dictionary, which changes constantly because words like ‘love’ and ‘weep’ are thrown out. People are treated like robots and are expected to behave as such, which also caused confusion for me because I thought the women were all computers. My favorite, scene, if you can call it that, was the depiction of the executions. There are a line of (mostly) men who stand on a diving board and are shot to death. They fall into the water, where a group of synchronized swimmers jump in to retrieve the body. Everyone claps politely and then the next person is brought in. This was the most ‘sci-fi’ part of the film and so messed up because everything looked so familiar. I actually like the idea of using present day locations because it seems as if the world depicted in the movie is not too far off from where we are right now.
Final review: 3/5. Alphaville is also considered noir, which is a weird pairing with the sci-fi genre, but I kind of liked it.
Up next: Gigi