Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
April 17
October 25, 1965
Alphaville released in NY

"Science fiction without special effects" is how critic Andrew Sarris described Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville, which opened in New York on October 25, 1965. Made during Godard's wildly creative early-to-mid-'60s period, after A Married Woman and before Pierrot le Fou, Alphaville is a sci-fi/detective movie mash-up, set on another planet that looks quite a bit like 1960s Paris. In a story about both depersonalization and mythmaking, Godard sent his detective Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) though an urban landscape that was both beautifully hip and also inflected with the seeds of alienation that the International Style of modern architecture would come to represent. But, most of all, Alphaville is one of Godard's most enjoyable philosophical goofs. Wrote Sarris, "There is much talk of societies in other galaxies, but their only manifestation is the Ford Galaxy that Eddie Constantine's Lemmy Caution (a low-rent French version of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe) moves about in. Most of Alphaville is nocturnal or claustrophobically indoors. Yet there is an exhilarating release in many of the images and camera movements because of Godard's uncanny ability to evoke privileged moments from many movies of the past."


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