Jean Luc Godard
live film soundtrack
Originally produced by Reality Films 1998
Alphaville: Jean Luc Godard (1965)
“Everything has been said, provided words do not change their meanings, and meanings their words...Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along. “
A cult classic and a film that pushed the very medium itself beyond its limits, Alphaville has intrigued me since I was a student. The unforgettable dirty grinding vocalisations of the computer voice haunt electronic music today and the fusing of ‘film noir’ and science fiction inspired a generation of film makers. Alphaville is a place where emotion is forbidden and poetry is forgotten, ruled by logic, a super computer. With its abstract, political and intellectual space-chase across the glass and metal landscape of futuristic Paris, we are caught within a film that dissolves boundaries between fiction and documentary, between actors and the characters they play, a situation which prevails in musical trends, with the divide between what is ‘real’ and ‘not real’ within music. Electronica shares the spirit of Alphaville, using a low budget style of creativity that captures the spirit of the time, often characterised by a cold, dystopian futuristic conscience. His use of sound on this and subsequent movies is extraordinary and my live improvisation within the frame of this work is a way of crossing time boundaries and exploring connections within his work.
It is curious to watch Alphaville today and too easily forget that the technical innovations of this film have been so widely absorbed that you can watch them today and hardly sense any of what was once new. With its odd camera angles, funky cuts, and offbeat characters and dialogue, Godard rebelled against the studio norms of the 1950s and 1960s aligning himself with other astute directors of the period: Rohmer, Resnais, Truffaut and Rivette, all figures of the Nouvelle Vague.
Alphaville is a still a radical film that transforms the everyday into something baffling and intriguing. Everything may be familiar but nothing is recognisable.
Institute of Contemporary Arts London
Imax Cinema London
Walker Art Centre Minneapolis
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam
Concert Huis a/d Werf Utrecht The Netherlands
Auckland International Film Festival New Zealand
Wellington International Film Festival New Zealand
Elektra Festival Montreal
Ashcroft Arts Centre UK
UCLA Los Angeles USA
PICA Perth Australia
Brisbane Southbank Parklands Australia