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*** 1/2 “Alphaville”
Connoisseur. $69.95. 1965.
Jean-Luc Godard is an acquired taste for many filmgoers, largely because of his seemingly perverse insistence on always exposing his materials, on insisting that a movie is a movie is a movie. “Alphaville” is a mixture of private eye thriller and science fiction, seemingly modelled, in equal parts, on “The Big Sleep,” “Metropolis” and Jean Cocteau’s “Orpheus.” Eddie Constantine--a popular American star of French movies--is sent here to “Alphaville,” a dehumanized city of night, run by computers, somewhere in the outer galaxy. All of the movie was shot in actual locations in 1965 Paris, to emphasize the movie’s metaphor: This cybernetic hell is not some piece of myth. It is here and now, on top of us. Godard’s metaphoric approach kills immediacy--the actors move like puppets through a fluorescent, metallic maze. In this bright hell of expressionless faces, Constantine’s violence becomes the only cri de couer, Anna Karina’s Gish-like profile the only icon of soft flesh. A brainy, strange film: cold on top, hot underneath.