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25

FRIDAY

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Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 futuristic allegory, Alphaville, succeeds as a formal exercise: The New Wave writer-director isolates elements of contemporary Paris to create a sci-fi vision without building sets or employing special effects. Alphaville’s computer-controlled labyrinth of mysterious, illuminated corridors, brilliantly photographed by Raoul Coutard, suggests a menacing, darkling world indifferent to human needs and desires. However, Godard’s screenplay—private eye Lemmy Caution (American expatriate Eddie Constantine, who previously played the same role in a series of low-budget French film noirs) attempts to rescue scientist Henri Dickson (Akim Tamiroff) from the clutches of tyrannical Professor Von Braun (Howard Vernon)—makes thuddingly banal observations about the alienation and conformity imposed by technology. Still, the filmmaker’s masterful visual style, Constantine’s world-weary presence, and the director’s then-wife Anna Karina’s luminous performance as Von Braun’s robotic daughter make the movie worth seeing, especially for fans of Blade Runner, which was strongly influenced by Alphaville. The screening begins at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Joel E. Siegel)