A cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry, Jean Luc Godard’s irreverent journey to the mysterious Alphaville remains one of the least conventional films of all time.
Eddie Constantine stars as intergalactic hero and secret agent Lemmy Caution, on a mission to kill the inventor of fascist computer Alpha 60.
Caution travels to Alphaville, a futuristic city on a distant planet, in search of his friend and fellow-agent Henri Dickson (Akim Tamiroff) who vanished (along with Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon) – while searching for the scientist von Braun (Howard Vernon).
Caution masquerades as Ivan Johnson, a journalist for Figaro-Pravda. The girl who shows him to his hotel room offers to sleep with him, describing herself as a ‘third-class seductress’. Caution turns her down. Then the first of several attempts on his life is made.
The city is run by croaking supercomputer Alpha 60, which has ordered citizens not to express emotions. In one of the film’s most arresting scenes, people found guilty of weeping in public are machine-gunned to death in the swimming baths.
Alpha 60 is plotting to destroy the Outerlands by fermenting discontent. So it is up to Caution, aided by Von Braun’s beautiful daughter Natacha (Godard’s then-wife Anna Karina), to stop it.
Jean Luc Godard had no budget (or script), filmed in the most modern parts of Paris he could find, and used no special effects whatever. Yet still, he produced a classic science fiction movie.
Eddie Constantine had played Caution (a character created by Peter Cheyney) in a series of B-movie thrillers before Godard poached both actor and character in order to secure German funding.
“Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along. But I am time. It’s a tiger, tearing me apart; but I am the tiger” Alpha 60
Prof. Leonard Nosferatu/Von Braun
Natacha Von Braun
Seductresses (Third Class)
Jean Luc Godard