Previously at the ICA - Films
5 May 2015
An essential part of Jean-Luc Godard’s unique body of work, Alphaville presents a dark fusion of film noir and science fiction in which the future is in constant tension between logic and emotion.
Chiaroscuro scenes reshape Parisian locations into a dystopian world where Godard reflects upon the role of individualism in the modern age. A secret agent poses as a journalist, taking photos as he attempts to find a missing colleague within a city ruled by a dictatorial computer whose sentient reasoning finds emotion illogical.
In Alphaville, cultures are standardised in attempt to form a homogenous society and any inhabitant found experiencing sensations or practicing expressive acts is judged irrational and sentenced to execution. The film dramatises the real-world effects of digital practices by transposing them into a physical space, demonstrating the loss of identity that results from the equalising effects of computational reasoning. These ideas remain contemporary and grow more relevant as the future approaches, enhancing the film’s particular blend of aesthetic and subject that has endured among audiences for decades.
Alphaville, dir. Jean-Luc Godard, France 1965, 99 mins
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