Alphaville (The Criterion Collection)

ISBN 13: 9780780021549

Alphaville (The Criterion Collection)

 
9780780021549: Alphaville (The Criterion Collection)
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A cockeyed fusion of science fiction, pulp characters, and surrealist poetry, Godard's irreverent journey to the mysterious Alphaville remains one of the least conventional films of all time. Eddie Constantine stars as intergalactic hero Lemmy Caution, on a mission to kill the inventor of fascist computer Alpha 60. Criterion's edition of this seminal film features a new digital transfer.

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Review:

As the French New Wave was reaching its maturity and filmgoing had evolved as a favorite pastime of intellectuals and urban sophisticates, along came Jean-Luc Godard to shake up every convention and send highfalutin critics scrambling to their typewriters. 1965's Alphaville is a perfect example of Godard's willingness to disrupt expectation, combine genres, and comment on movies while making sociopolitical statements that inspired doctoral theses and left a majority of viewers mystified. Part science fiction and part hard-boiled detective yarn, Alphaville presents a futuristic scenario using the most modern and impersonal architecture that Godard could find in mid-'60s Paris. A haggard private eye (Eddie Constantine) is sent to an ultramodern city run by a master computer, where his mission is to locate and rescue a scientist who is trapped there. As the story unfolds on Godard's strictly low-budget terms, the movie tackles a variety of topics such as the dehumanizing effect of technology, willful suppression of personality, saturation of commercial products, and, of course, the constant recollection of previous films through Godard's carefully chosen images. For most people Alphaville, like many of the director's films, will prove utterly baffling. For those inclined to dig deeper into Godard's artistic intentions, the words of critic Andrew Sarris (quoted from an essay that accompanies the Criterion Collection DVD) will ring true: "To understand and appreciate Alphaville is to understand Godard, and vice versa." --Jeff Shannon

Additional Features:

Criterion's DVD release of Alphaville can almost be considered 'Godardian' in and of itself. Almost in keeping with the director's minimalist ideals, this DVD has no added "extras." Criterion instead focused their sole attention on greatly improving the visual and audio qualities of the film. This new digital transfer was created from a 35mm fine grain master made from the original negative. Though there are manipulated letterboxed additions available, this DVD is presented in the film's originally intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio and French Mono 1.0 soundtrack. Though a little grainy in spots, this is without a doubt the best Alphaville has ever looked. One could even argue that the visual faults add to Alphaville's grittiness. Though a commentary would have been a nice extra to this complex film, it is the vast technical improvements that make this Criterion DVD a worthwhile addition to any film fan's collection. --Rob Bracco

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780900855115: Alphaville (Classical Film Scripts S)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0900855118 ISBN 13:  9780900855115
Publisher: Imprint unknown, 1966
Softcover

9780571125531: Alphaville

Faber ..., 1987
Softcover

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Published by Criterion (2001)
ISBN 10: 0780021541 ISBN 13: 9780780021549
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