…Alphaville could easily be described as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, simply because it captures the space between today and tomorrow by shooting modern office buildings and hotels as an alien landscape. Godard even makes this explicit by having the guttural computer stutter “But no one has survived in the past and no one will live in the future. The present is the form of all life. This quality cannot be changed by any means.”Alphaville hits me the hardest probably because its so much about that effect, that defining science fiction approach, more than any other argument.
Part of what Alphaville is about is the difference between philosophy and science, in theory and application. Part of it is about the failure of film to come up with any ideas about a workable or realistic future. About transitional space, about outdated ideas and new ideas being equally unworkable, about 1940s cynical noir and 1960s failing futurism. About an aging grizzled detective/spy and an ingenious beautiful mad scientist’s daughter. Between Einstein and Orwell’s dual influence on the world, where words could be removed from their meanings and time was relative. Originally it was supposed to be called TARZAN VS IBM.
“IMPOSSIBLE, PRINCESS. YOU MUST GET THERE YOURSELF.”