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Monday December 4th 2023

Alphaville | 1965

Sci-fi fantasy with special agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) travelling across space (in a Ford Galaxie, naturally) to investigate the bleak futuristic city of Alphaville, represented by a quirkily photographed Sixties Paris.

The ominous computer centre is Paris’s Electricity Board building, and Caution’s hotel is the Hotel Scribe, 1 rue Scribe, by the Place de l’Opéra.

Alphaville location: Hotel Sofitel Paris le Scribe, 1 rue Scribe, Paris
Alphaville location: Lemmy Caution’s hotel: Hotel Sofitel Paris le Scribe, 1 rue Scribe, Paris

The grand Hotel Scribe, which was the Allied Forces’ press HQ during WWII, has another place in cinema history. An inscription round the corner, at the hotel’s boulevard des Capucines entrance (no 14) records that here, in the Salon Indien of the Grand Café, the Lumière brothers first demonstrated cinematic projection on 28 December, 1895.

Quentin Tarantino pays homage to the director by naming the diamond shop, site of the robbery, in Reservoir Dogs, ‘Karina’s’, after Alphaville’s co-star, who was at the time married to Godard, and also by calling his production company, A Band Apart, after Godard’s 1964 movie, Bande à Part.