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.