Alphaville (1965)

Article #677 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 1-21-2003
Posting date: 6-20-2003

A secret agent infiltrates the planet/city of Alphaville.

It’s French New Wave cinema, a type of movie that has always remained somewhat alien to me. Yes, there’s some fascinating visual moments, but there’s a part of me that just wants to dismiss the whole thing as self-indulgent twaddle. What prevents me from doing so, though, is an element that caught me off guard; the movie has a sense of humor at times, and it actually made me laugh on occasion. Not that the movie is a comedy; it isn’t. But maybe the movie shouldn’t be taken quite as seriously as the camera angles, cinematic tricks and poetry would lead you to believe. There are comic book touches here, as well as hard-boiled detective motifs, 1984-like dystopian visions, and some very nice black and white photography. Eddie Constantine has one of the craggiest faces in existence, and the movie also features familiar faces in Akim Tamiroff and Howard Vernon. I don’t quite understand it myself, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who was averse to this arty sort of thing, nor am I sure that repeated viewing will really prove beneficial to me, but there was just enough here to give me the idea that I might just give it another shot one of these days.


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