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Alphaville (1965)

Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 5 May 1965 (France)
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A U.S. secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Lemmy Caution
... Natacha von Braun
... Henri Dickson (as Akim Tamirof)
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Storyline

Lemmy Caution, an American private-eye, arrives in Alphaville, a futuristic city on another planet. His very American character is at odds with the city's ruler, an evil scientist named Von Braun, who has outlawed love and self-expression. Written by Gene Volovich <volovich@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Suddenly the word is Alphaville... and a secret agent is in a breathless race against the Masters of the Future. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 May 1965 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Alphaville  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$220,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,298, 7 February 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$46,585, 30 May 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Godard originally wanted Roland Barthes for the role of Professor von Braun. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end when Lemmy and Natasha get into their car while all the Alphaville residents are incapacitated, cars can be seen driving past, while the drivers should have been knocked out. See more »

Quotes

Lemmy Caution: Are you finished taking me for an ass? Or, are you beginning?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the credits, Godard adds one letter at a time to compose the word "fin"--"i"..."in"..."fin"--as though to suggest "I, in the end." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sti skia tou Lemmy Caution (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A movie few else would dare.
29 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

Godard was one of the most brilliant directors to ever make movies. His rebellious attitude and style simply puts some people off, which is unfortunate since Godard's movies are smart, well-crafted and, yes, entertaining.

Alphaville is most often compared to movies that came after it, which goes to show how unique and groundbreaking it was (even if perhaps this has been obscured in hindsight). What Godard achieved is seen best at what HASN'T aged. Anytime you show computers and technology in a sci-fi movie it invariably will look dated years later. Yet Godard's stylized approach looks far beyond the superficiality of Alphaville. For example, the first scene with Lemmy Caution in Alpha 60 shows him monitored with microphones manipulated about his head. The jerky motion of the mics (equipment that isn't futuristic is the slightest) portray the mechanical control of Alpha 60 with cunning insight. The microphones are neither left static nor moved with fluid grace (just as another scene with discontinuous shots of a fight). The ominous, intermittent movements suggest the limitations of this computerized state.

I like this movie in its correlation to William S. Burroughs' fictional world Interzone. Alphaville's Dr. Nosferatu (which translates into the undead, as in vampires) bears some resemblance to Burroughs' Dr. Benway. Alpha 60, the monsterous human/machine computer running Alphaville, functions much as Burroughs' Nova Mob. Concerns over science dehumanizing society are pervasive. The scene where Alphaville executes the poets using water ballet echoes the fictional dichotomy the state has drawn.

"Alphaville" is hypnotic. The continuous use of flashing lights impresses this. The ending is what cracks me up. Ending with Natasha VonBraun (Anna Karina) straining to utter "I...love...you." Is this all Lemmy Caution has faught for, some sentimental tripe? Maybe Godard subtly revised Hitchcock's ending to his second "The Man Who Knew Too Little"--Jimmy Stewart delivers the beyond-obvious line, "Sorry I'm late, I just had to go pick up Henry."

"Alphaville" throws together a multitude of increasingly aggresive styles. After "Le Mepris" in 1963, this movie (if one ever could) shows a transition to Godard's scathing "Weekend" in 1967. Godard made so many wonderful movies each its own treasure. Not that everybody should make movies like Godard, I do wish everyone could make movies as good as his are.


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