Future daze

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Jean-Luc Godard, Alphaville

What a very strange film. Largely plotless, obsessed with stairs and corridors, liberally plagiaristic with SF, dystopian and comicbook tropes, completely impersonal and yet strangely consistent and whole. Consider its lineage: Le Mépris (1963), Bande à part (1964), Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965), Pierrot le fou, (1965), Masculin, féminin: 15 faits précis (1966) – this is a director at the height of creativity and stylistic diversity. There is also quite simply no other film in this mode – bristling with cerebral shadows and future-paranoia and a weird, a-violent inertia. There's a hint of classical Modernism throughout – the sets, the orchestrated music, the old-school idea of the automaton and the machinic dictator with his ruthlessly logical programs. Another director working today would've made this with much more sinister music and references, with a greater sense of historical inevitability and politico-cultural reality. Would have made the timeless, ahistorical trap of the present (theme) something shorter and more blandly superficial, filled with useless products and a culture of irresponsibility. Question: how can you make a film about conscience in the era of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair? Answer: you go for the throat. Our idea of the future is the inevitability of the next invasion; we no longer have a vision or a capacity for big humane principles. I'm in a good mind to chase up Eluard's Capitale de la Douleur in preparation for the work on torture I'm dreaming up.

posted by rino breebaart  # 2:19 pm
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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