Three things I know about watching Alphaville in Taipei

Three things “wrong” with watching ALPHAVILLE at the Taipei Film Festival tonight:

1. Chinese subtitles only. This was actually fine: good to re-activate my French, after a year studying Chinese rendered it rather dormant. But, lots of the film’s sound is sketchily recorded sync sound with so much distortion and background noise that it was hard to make out the dialogue. Godard’s own deep Alpha 60 voice, though, was loud and clear. So was everything Karena said (not coincidentally, I must have been trying harder when she appeared), including those last three words (tears in eyes, not just hers).

2. There’s something eerie and not-quite-right about watching a spanking new digital restoration of the film, all high tech wizardly-enabled, spiffed up, clean, sparkling, and grain-less: isn’t this the kind of fetishization of scientific (un)reason over passion that Alphaville itself attacks? (hint: yes)

3. After watching this or most any other Godard film, where free experimentation is playfully wedded to genre-referencing forms, uncompromising intelligence and mind-boggling culture génerale, I wonder what kind of pleasure I can still manage to eek out of any other films these days. This is slightly exhilarating or depressing, depending upon whether one is watching or has just watched said Godard film.

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