Jean-Luc Godard is not a director that is usually associated with the genre of science fiction. However with his 1965 film Alphaville, Godard created one of the greatest pieces of political science fiction of the nineteen-sixties, if not of all time. Alphaville is set in a distant space city, there the US secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) must locate a missing person, and bring an end to the robot who rules the city. This tyrannical robot, named Alpha 60, has outlawed all emotion in people living within the city, stressing that logic is far more important.

Though Alphaville seems to have a pretty normal sci-fi/noir plot the film’s script and its production transforms it into something much more. The film, though set in a distant space city, is clearly filmed on the streets of Paris. This makes the commentary throughout the film much more obvious. It also secures its place as part of the French New Wave of film-making, despite the out-there plot and location. The script also makes the film remarkable, with Lemmy Caution clearly being a pastiche of The Maltese Falcon‘s Sam Spade, and with obvious references to Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984. This film carries a thought-provoking script including a heavy but rewarding interrogation scene.

Godard’s brilliant use of lighting and inventive use of scenery creates a low-budget sci-fi classic without the cheesy make-up and props. The film’s philosophical script adds to this and creates a film that is still just as brilliant sixty years on, especially in an age where artificial intelligence is constantly questioned.

Godard’s brilliance lives on in this film. Its legacy as a strange yet outstanding part of the French New Wave endures.