Godard’s Alphaville is a concoction of love and technology, poetry and science.
In a city that is governed by an evil scientist, those who experience love, or grief, or even read poetry are sentenced to death. A tragic scene suffused with endless murder and beautiful synchronized swimmers, is displayed very matter-of-factly. The insouciance attitude in the characters is genuine to Alphaville on account of the inhuman sensitivity that everyone in this city is to attain. This scene specifically demonstrates the interrelation between evil and poetry that is prominent throughout the film.
Alphaville, the city where love is obsolete, technology plays the leading role. Ironically Alphaville is fluid with romanticism and despair that is easily interpreted by the over-sexualized women in this city. And it isn’t hard to predict that it is through the pursuit of love that Alphaville’s regime is eradicated.
Anna Karina, who plays the evil scientists’ daughter, maneuvers her way into the heart of an “outsider”, a journalist who has come to save its citizens from the Alpha 60 dictatorship. Here, with a touch of passion and courage, the journalist who also claims to stand for justice, hunts and kills the scientist while consequentially destroying Alphaville itself.
In a city that is entranced with apathy and dispassion, the film is flooded with love and poetry. From the opening quote by Borges: “Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world”, to Anna Karina reading a love poem Éluard’s Capital of Pain, Godard weaves love and poetry in and out in this hollow-robotic city. For the protagonist, poetry turns darkness into light, and in the end, only those who love survive.
-ar (November 28, 2011)