JEAN LUC GODARDS SIXTIES NEW WAVE POP ART CYBERMOD
CLASSIC STARRING EDDIE CONSTANTINE AS FUTURE COP LEMMIE CAUTION &
ANNA KARINA AS THE SEDUCTRESS THIRD CLASS. PRESENTED AT THE BFI LONDON
IMAX FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH A SPECIALLY COMMISSIONED SAMPLED AND REMIXED
AMBIENT NINETIES SCORE PERFORMED LIVE BY SCANNER
Godard said it all. And everything that can be said about Godard has been said. Except that in 1998 we can say one more thing he was a fucking prophet. With La Chinoise, of course, he forecast May 1968 and the occupation of the Sorbonne. But maybe that wasnt prophecy; he made it happen. Without his film the university might not have been occupied. Then there was Weekend. None of our weekends have been the same since. Prophesy or art creating reality. So what about Alphaville? Science fiction they called it. Hardly a Godard genre. Anna Karina at her most translucent, with her heart of glass. Was it proof that Godard, beneath all the show, was a dreamer after all, an incorrigible romantic? Seeing it now: could Alphaville be the key to understanding Godard?
Alphaville was never mere science fiction; it was metaphysical fiction. It was about consciousness. Consciousness devoid of feeling. A male world stripped of the feminine; In which everything has become prostitution. Again; the Oval Portrait. A work of extraordinary prophecy, Alphaville, alas, was/is about HERE and NOW. It is about life being sucked out of the living, everything trance-formed from the natural into virtuality. The culture of death. The death of feeling. The city and the computers sucking out the last vestiges of poetry and hope. Alphaville is Microsoft. Von Braun is Murdoch, Alpha 60 is the internet. Alphaville Inc.
Godard@Zeroville. We let it happen, despite his warnings. Art changing nothing; totally submissive to the power of the computers; the networks. Anality.
© Peter Whitehead 1998
VERITE CINEMATOGROPHER AND NOVELIST PETER WHITEHEAD ORIGINALLY TRANSLATED GODARDS ALPHAVILLE INTO THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN 1966. THE PUBLISHED TEXT, NOW OUT OF PRINT, BECAME THE SEMINAL SOURCE FOR ALL FILM SCRIPT TEXTS THAT FOLLOWED. HIS PRESENT THOUGHTS ON THE FILM, REPRODUCED ABOVE, WERE WRITTEN ESPECIALLY FOR THIS PRESENTATION.