Welcome to the strange world of Alphaville, where your Ford Mustang is now called a “Ford Galaxie.”
Your name? Lemmy Caution, from the Outlands; code number 003.
Your mission? Destroy Alphaville.
Jean Luc-Godard originally wanted to title this movie, which combines film noir with dystopian science fiction, “Tarzan versus IBM.” Alpha 60 is a computer who has outlawed free thought, so things such as “love” are misunderstood by all who inhabit it. This computer system rules the city of Alphaville, and it constantly shows itself as E = mc2 and E = hf, equations indicating logic and science.
In replacement of the idea of “love,” there are women that are classified as 1st to 3rd level seductresses.
Not only are women considered betrayers, but they are even assigned jobs as such. Anyone showing emotion in Alphaville is promptly executed, and the bible in everyone’s room is actually a dictionary, with a constantly changing repertoire of words – new words are introduced to replace words that are thought to invoke emotion.
Lemmy Caution, played by Eddie Constantine, falls in love with Natacha Von Braun (played by Anna Karina, one of Goddard’s muses) and it is their love that ultimately brings down Alpha 60.
One of the most curious aspects of this movie is the use of works of literature in the dialogue; Alpha 60 quotes poet Jorge Luis Borges, while Lemmy quotes poet Paul Èluard – an interesting contradiction that Godard inserts into the film considering that poetry is one of the many things looked down upon in Alphaville.
To find out what riddle Lemmy tells Alpha 60 that finally makes his wire-y insides combust, rent it for $2.99 on YouTube.