"When the 'Family' (the television with its 'cousin' announcers and actors) presents an interactive play in which Linda believes she has a role, an actor (Donald Pickering) wearing glasses with thick, black rectangular frames, turns to the camera as it zooms in on him and says, 'What do you think, Linda?'"
(Tom Whalen, Gale Student Resources In Context)
Whalen, Tom. "The Consequences of Passivity: Re-evaluating Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451," in Literature-Film Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 3, July, 2007, pp. 181(10).
"Cyberpunk' is a 60-minute documentary, the ad for which states: 'What started as a book became a literary movement. What was a literary movement became a subculture'.
And that's one of the major flaws of this film. It perpetuates the general myth that everything 'cyberpunk' expanded out of 'Neuromancer' and Gibson's vision. In truth, most of the stuff covered here (virtual reality, hacking, industrial music, cybernetics, designer drugs, anarchy) was already developing quite nicely before Lord Gibson, Chairman Bruce, and the rest (Shirley, Rucker, Shiner) were kind enough to provide a fictional universe in which to fuse these disparate explorations.
The production of 'Cyberpunk' is very inconsistent, too -- some parts are professional documentary, while other parts have the odor of quick-cash opportunism. The breathy women narrator is ultimately aggravating, oh-ing and ah-ing over all this stuff.
But there is some good material here, including interviews with Gibson, Leary, Scott Fisher (of NASA/Ames), Brenda Laurel, Vernon Reed (Living Color), Bill Leeb (Front Line Assembly) and others. There's also some cool computer graphics (circa 1989) and an industrial soundtrack with Front Line Assembly, Ministry, and Severed Heads.
'Cyberpunk' is still a must-see since it's the only documentary about cyberpunk that we have."
Fig.1 Produced and Directed by Marianne Trench and Peter von Brandenberg, Intercon Productions, 1990.
"Science-fiction films tell us as much about the time in which they were made as the future they project and between the two moments – the one specific, the other nominal (1984, 2001, etc) – a sense develops of their qualities of prescience and allegorical vision. The enterprise of proposing a world-to-be is always a hostage to the future's fortune. The law of diminishing returns that applies as regards special effects bears this out. How soon before Matrix-era 'bullet time' looks as dated as Douglas Trumbull's 'star gate' pyrotechnics in 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)? Which may explain why Alphaville hasn't aged as badly as other examples of the genre; it finds its 'special effect' in the specifically cinematic resource of light.
But this light, let's remind ourselves, is the light of the past brought to bear on the presence of the future now. Would it be going too far to suggest that, in adding the dimensions of past and future to the present of 1965, Godard was able to set the controls of his particular time machine to withstand the very test of time? There's no shortage of films that seek to travel in time following Alphaville, from Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) and Mauvais sang (Leos Carax, 1986) to Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997) and Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998). There is also the developing genre of what critic Jonathan Romney has named 'steel and glass cinema' which he describes 'as cinema set in the recognisably contemporary urban world but framed and shot in such a way that it becomes detached, not unreal so much as irreal, bordering on science fiction', examples of which include Elle est des nôtres (She's a Jolly Good Fellow, Seigrid Alnoy, 2002), Demonlover (Olivier Assayas, 2002), Cypher (Vincenzo Natali, 2002) and Code 46 (Michael Winterbottom, 2003). Romney claims Alphaville to be 'the mother' of such cinema and with good reason. In the forty or so years separating Alphaville from Demonlover it has become evident that the no-place of Godard's dystopia, with its labyrinth of corridors and lobbies, was already one big non-place in waiting. The presence of the future that Godard was keen to capture back in 1965 has since taken shape as a global nonplace crossing continents and time-zones. 'It may be that we have already dreamed our dream of the future', J.G. Ballard has mused, 'and have woken with a start into a world of motorways, shopping malls and airport concourses which lie around us like a first instalment of a future that has forgotten to materialize.' Or, to put it another way, Alphaville exists. Everywhere."
(Chris Darke, Vertigo Magazine)
This is an edited extract from Chris Darke’s monograph on J-L Godard’s Alphaville to be published by I.B.Tauris in 2005. Chris Darke is a writer, critic and lecturer on the moving image. His book of selected writings, Light Readings, is published by Wallflower Press. He is also represented, with his film study Chris on Chris, on the DVD of La Jetée and Sans Soleil. See also pages 26 and 38.
"In translating a digital game to the big screen, these titles rely on the integration of aesthetics and narrative from their game counterparts to further enhance the viewing experience. The utilization of game narrative in the horror adaptation film is partially based on the acceptance of the video game medium as a cyberdrama, which emphasizes 'the enactment of the story in the particular fictional space of the computer.' Many popular titles were not only about motor coordination and skill, but about becoming immersed in good storytelling. Author Janet Murray states, 'A story has greater emphasis on plot; a game has greater emphasis on the actions of the player. But where the player is also the protagonist or the god of the story world, then player action and plot event begin to merge.' Murray describes the player's attachment to the game narrative as dramatic agency, which 'requires that we script the interactor as well as the world, so that we know how to engage the world, and so that we build up the appropriate expectations.' "
(Timothy D. Alley, p.47, 2007)
54. Janet Murray, "From Game-Story to Cyberdrama." First Person. Eds. Noah Wardrip- Fruin and Pat Harrigan (Cambridge, MA: The MIT P, 2004) 4.
"Fritz Lang''s Metropolis-a visually astonishing, nightmarish view of the future-belongs in every well-rounded SF film collection. Yet finding an acceptable copy of this 1926 German masterpiece is often a frustrating quest, because there are more widely differing versions of Metropolis in circulation than perhaps any film in history."
(Wesley G. Holt)