Eddie Constantine in hat and trenchcoat

The French New Wave, film noir and sci-fi all collide in Alphaville, Jean-Luc Godard’s mad mash-up of all three genres. If it does nothing else it demonstrates that as long as you have imagination you don’t need any budget at all to make an impressive movie. Godard shot it all in Paris, with no sets, no gadgety props, no special effects. He didn’t even bother with a newly minted character. Instead he repurposed Lemmy Caution, a gumshoe created by British crime novelist Peter Cheyney who had already appeared in a string of French B movies by the time Alphaville came out in 1965. Then, as here, Caution is played by the American singer … Read more


The uncle chastises Leopold

Europe is finished! Lars Von Trier’s finale to his Europa trilogy – Europa – makes summaries and predictions about life on a continent dragging a long, dark history behind it. All three films – The Element of Crime, Epidemic and now Europa – work in the same way, as grim anti-pantomimes of studied awfulness, presented in arthouse genuflection before Tarkovsky, Kafka and Brecht. Into a shattered post-War Germany in ruins Von Trier inserts his hero, a new arrival from America, full of idealism and signing up to work on the railways as a sleeping car guard. It’s not long before Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) has been compromised, restrained, tied down and discredited after involving … Read more