"Après 30 ans d’existence, le Minitel s’apprête à tirer sa révérence. Les plus jeunes ne verront même pas de quoi il est question, mais ceux qui étaient au collège ou au lycée dans les années 90 s’en rappelleront peut-être pour avoir recherché dessus leurs résultats aux examens du brevet ou du bac. Le Minitel, ou l’ancêtre d’internet ! Invention 100 % française, le 1er réseau dans l’histoire des télécommunications à permettre la “connexion de terminaux permettant la visualisation de données informatiques” disparaîtra le 30 Juin 2012, et avec lui la machine à l’origine du fameux “36-15″. Définitivement la fin d’une époque.
After 30 years of existence, the Minitel is preparing to take its final bow. The youngest will not even see what it is about, but those who were in college or high school in the 90s will remember perhaps have looked over their test scores. The Minitel, or the ancestor of the Internet ! 100% French invention, the first network in the history of telecommunications to allow ”terminal connection to visualization of computer data” will draw his bow on June 30, 2012, and with it the machine behind the famous “36 - 15 “. Definitely the end of an era."
(Vincent Laserson, 31 May 2012, De Jeunes Gens Modernes)
"The history of popular music is haunted by the ghosts of scores of singers and groups who made a single hit song and were never heard from again. Periodically radio stations that specialize in classic rock will devote a weekend to these one-hit wonders"
(David W. Galenson)
Galenson, David W., One Hit Wonders: Why Some of the Most Important Works of Modern Art are Not by Important Artists (November 2004). NBER Working Paper Series, Vol. w10885, pp. -, 2004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=618522
Fig.1 C. W. McCall (1975). "Convoy"; Fig.2 Promises (1978). "Baby it's You"; Fig.3 The Swingers (1982). "Counting The Beat"; Fig.4 Deee-Lite (1990). "Groove Is In The Heart"; Fig.5 OMC (1995). "How Bizarre"
"Jan Švankmajer has gained a legendary reputation over several decades for his distinctive use of stop-motion technique, and his ability to make surreal, nightmarish and yet somehow funny pictures. He is still making films in Prague to this day. His movies utilise exaggerated sounds & sped-up sequences and often involve inanimate objects being brought to life through stop-motion to perform perverse and often violent acts. While many of Jan Švankmajer's films depict destructive aspects of the human psyche, 'Darkness, Light, Darkness' is a depiction of Man building himself."
(beinArt International Surreal Art Collective/Jon Beinart)
"Take a look at Walt Disney's vision for the city of the future, the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow or Epcot. 'No city of today will serve as the guide for the city of tomorrow,' serves as a guiding principle as varied ideas from shopping mall living, to freeways, to pedestrian safety, to high speed transit are considered. Disney himself says the city of tomorrow must abandon the old cities and their problems and be built on virgin land from scratch.
From its 'cosmopolitan convention center' to its theme-park shopping districts, Disney envisioned his 50-acre city core, completely enclosed and climate controlled like a shopping mall, hermetically sealed from the natural world. Outside of this air-conditioned environment of shops and offices, apartments, then parks and schools, then suburban houses radiate in a fantasy of controlled zoning where every use is separated from every other use.
Despite being conceived as a modern utopia based around the automobile, Epcot envisions a future of mass transit for the daily commute. 'Freeways will not be EPCOT's major way of entering and leaving the city,' declares a confident narrator. Instead, an electrified monorail and people mover will connect the city and suburb, radiating in all directions from the core. It was envisioned that the primary use of the car would be for 'weekend pleasure trips.'
Repeatedly, the dangers of automobile traffic for pedestrians are cited. The pedestrian is, in fact, declared 'king' as transportation uses, like Epcot's zoning, are completely separated. The pedestrian is 'free to walk and browse without fear of motorized vehicles.' Children and bikes have separate paths in the suburbs for walking or riding to school. Electric vehicles travel on elevated roadway's through Epcot's downtown while underground transit carries workers in and out of the city. Separate facilities for cars and trucks are provided further underground.
Disney did eventually build a prototype city, but the end result was far from what was envisioned for Epcot. The town of Celebration, Florida chose not to abandon the cities of the past but to embrace the patterns that make them so interesting to experience. New Urbanism has been brought in to create a mixed-use town center and compact living. Celebration was just as carefully planned as the Epcot of old, but the end result is quite different."
(Branden Klayko, 20 November 2009, Broken Sidewalk)
"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.