A striking black-and-white hybrid of film noir and science fiction, "Alphaville" (1965) is now one of the most enduringly popular of Jean-Luc Godard 's films of the 1960s. Working without sets, special effects, or even a script, Godard created a dystopian vision of a technocratic city of the future, which resonates with filmmakers today. "Alphaville" pits secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) against Alpha 60, the super-computer that presides over a city where weeping is outlawed, poetry goes unrecognised and the words 'conscience' and 'love' have ceased to exist. Lemmy's mission is to capture the renegade scientist Professor von Braun (Howard Vernon) but is complicated when he falls in love with the Professor's ravishing daughter, Natasha (Anna Karina). In this first ever exploration of Godard's masterpiece, published on the fortieth anniversary of its release, Chris Darke uncovers the film's unique combination of genres and styles and draws on new interviews with the director's collaborators to chronicle the film's production.
Analysing "Alphaville" in its historical context, he also examines how the film in fluenced Godard's later work, as well as exploring Alphaville's 'afterlife' in the work of other filmmakers and artists.