Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect

I recently found myself standing beneath an awning overlooking the yellow nightly glimmer beyond the Gare du Lyon. Cars stole their way through sheets of rain, while tourists and workers hurried with coats pulled tightly around their necks. It was two days before New Year’s Eve. I was staying for a single night, returning from visiting family in England over Christmas. That night I slept dreamlessly in the bed of a not uncomfortable Ibis hotel. By the time I left the next morning, I hadn’t seen the sun. My entire Paris had been a Paris by night, at an ‘anywhere’ hotel, on a bed that could have been any bed. Paris is beautiful. Paris, like any other city, also has the capacity to be unbeautiful. To be ‘anywhere’. I thought about history, and buildings, and change, as I waited to check out in the plastic-smelling lobby. “Bonne journée!”. “Oui”. Somewhere the sun must be rising.

It is precisely that enduring Parisian ‘beauty’ that filmmakers have variously sought to celebrate and deny. During the 1960s, when Paris would begin its architectural metamorphosis into a fully modern metropolis, it took two directors, Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Tati, to engage artistically with that transformation. But whereas Godard would use Paris’ new, ‘real’ architectures to depict a fictionalised city, Tati would construct an entirely false, miniature city to depict a very ‘real’ Paris. Godard and Tati were responding to the same act of transformation. But why did they pursue this to different architectural ends, and what conjoins and separates their critiques?

Indeed, the Paris of the 1960s would undergo a dramatic architectural and economic transformation that would see the unprecedented redesign and reconstruction of entire urban districts, not just around the still historic Gare du Lyon. The last time Paris had been subjected to such large-scale transformation in its built environment had been through Baron Hausmann’s mass replanning of the city in the 1850s and 1860s, designed as much to prevent revolution and fire than for beautification. Over a century later, after the arrival of the cinema and the re-emergence of European economies from post-war austerity, architectural change was again on the cards for the Fifth Republic.

During the 1950s and 1960s, De Gaulle’s then Minister of Culture, André Malraux, would oversee a vast and unimaginable project designed to ‘rehabilitate’ the historic neighbourhoods of the urban centre around Le Marais, which included the scrubbing and cleaning of facades and the transformation of residential buildings into office blocks and commercial units. The price of land sky-rocketed; this served only to push workers and the lower middle classes to the peripheries while depopulating the central arrondissements, further entrenching income and housing inequality while celebrating a new global consumerism of elite, modern flats and domestic technologies. The 1960s and 1970s would see the emergence of the city’s first towers and modern developments, such as the Belleville HML flats and at the substantial Beaugrenelle project of the 15th arrondissement, whose many buildings today form a dramatic wall along the Seine. The city’s municipal council, riding the wave of post-war economic development, often aggressively pushed these developments through via “public interest” orders which were widely criticised. One resident, who had been moved from their house, stated they were “not against modernism”, but disapproved of the “inadmissible and inhuman procedures used by a blind administration to push aside those who get in its way”.1 Not for the first time, Parisians began to examine the ambivalences of modernism. The signal had been made many years before, in 1922, with French architect Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin for the redevelopment of Paris (See Image 1). If you look closely, you can see the Ile-de-Paris just to the south of the cruciform towers. Corbusier’s plan would situate the ‘modern’ in the very heart of the ancient city.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin

The question we’re confronted with in this article concerns how filmmakers took up the challenge of representing this ‘new’ Paris, and of encountering the consequences and implications of its ‘rehabilitation’, ‘development’, and globalisation during a time of political and social turmoil – a period of decolonisation, student protest, the emergence of the Situationists, and the envelopment of bourgeois ‘good taste’. To do this, I look at two French films produced in the 1960s, both of which are not only set in Paris, but are inherently ‘about’ it from an architectural and urban planning perspective. These films – Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) and Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) – both constitute a variety of architectural engagements with the built form of the city, specifically of its modernity and globalisation. Indeed, only in 1962 had Henri Lefebvre written his Introduction to Modernity, expressing an acute anxiety for a rational, modernised city intended to house “thousands of machines for living in”.2 The intersection between architectural form and architectural experience were intellectual topics to which both filmmakers would have been accustomed, and sought to address in their films.

Godard’s Alphaville, released in 1965, locates itself at the absolute epicentre of these changes. The film – provocative, stylish, albeit darkly comic – pits its exaggerated noir protagonist (Lemmy Caution, played by Eddie Constantine3), a lumpen avatar of the ‘old guard’, into the mesmeric yet stultifying architectures and techno-social procedures of this new and imagined Capitalist Modernity. During the 1960s, Godard’s fascination with Marxism and critical theory had given cinematic shape to his films as a form of social critique; they strove to express his anxieties about the creeping anonymity and alienation of an Americanised globalisation, as he began a project to redefine the relationships between leisure and labour, architecture and the screen. For Godard, the cinema itself – not least the modern cinema – should be conceived of as a factory. But how to square the commercial (in which he was deeply involved) with the critical? How could the factory conditions of cinematic leisure be slotted within an ideological and artistic war to expose the production of its own conditions?

Alphaville – the product of this debate – is a deeply stylish and alluring film which flatters the viewer’s taste and appreciation for modern design; we are reminded of Anna Karina’s descent, wearing a chic black fur-trimmed robe, down a spiralling marble staircase; the echoing white, gold, and glass auditorium of a central hotel. We see the presence of cars, radios, televisions, screens, as if Godard had constructed the mise-en-scene from a collage of marketing brochures and advertising copy.

But the luxury that Alphaville expresses is continually limned by an unease of jump-cuts and disharmonies. Lemmy Caution looms, shrugs and punches his way through a series of otherwise serene and organised worlds. The polish smears, the glass cracks. His face continuously plays somewhere between worldly indifference and dull shock. Like a bull in a minimalist china shop, his body is always hunched, too large, too irregular – Eddie Constantine’s characteristically craggy appearance, his uncoordinated refusal to sit down and comply, mean that he continuously frustrates the soporific authoritarianism of Alpha 60, the computer-brain which functions both as the city’s decision maker and its policeman. Nineteenth century hotels are supplemented by machines and screens reminiscent of Star Trek.

The changing social landscapes of Paris had been a continued thread at which Godard had pulled since his Le Nouveau Monde (1962), where a man returns to the city to find “people talking illogically and constantly swallowing pills”, while “names of things (had) been changed and the Eiffel Tower (has) been partially destroyed”.4 By 1965, Godard had gone one step further – eradicating the tower, and replacing the ‘old’ Paris with a disquieting ‘new’.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

The Electricity Board Building

Despite being a work of science fiction, Alphaville’s sets and scenography are not so far removed from fact. Godard had made the sly decision not to use fabricated sets for his film. The setting, a futuristic and dystopian Paris, would not require the creation of false modernities. Godard chose instead to film in the new, sleek suburbs and business districts which had begun to coalesce in De Gaulle’s Paris. As Lawrence Webb has put it, this was a cinema which responded to the idea of “the central city as a space under threat”, which questioned “whether the rapid expansion of the anonymous and abstract space of the urban periphery was challenging the quality and nature of Paris itself”.5 The film, shot predominantly at night, obscures the envelopes of buildings and causes their lights only to mystify and obscure their surfaces and form. We see a slow panning shot of what was in 1963 the recently completed Maison de la Radio and the Electricity Board Building, reached via long shots of black highways lit only by the blurred lights of passing cars. These are characteristic of the new ring-roads and highways which were lain across and around the city, proposed as the boulevard périphérique. Work on these began in 1957, and would eventually form a 36-km circumference around the city as the local government anticipated the massive growth in traffic and congestion which both Godard and Tati alluded to.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

Maison de la Radio (completed 1963)

By inhabiting his film within an existing (rather than false) built environment, it fulfilled its own conditions of ‘proving’ Godard’s critique. The Modern had ‘arrived’. Was it then so absurd to exaggerate this modernity into a theatrical dystopia? Moreover, these buildings would appear, to many contemporary viewers, as strange and unfamiliar. Raoul Coutard, working as Godard’s cinematographer, depicted new ‘real’ architectures such as the Electricity Board building and the Hotel Sofitel Paris le Scribe in slanted and under-saturated shots which further distend and articulate their ‘alienness’ within a Parisian landscape so often affiliated with boulevards and palaces. Instead, we are given shots of unclear landscapes through glass, marble lobbies, shots of partial facades, shots of electricity towers and distant developments. We are refused a postcard and denied coherence.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

Construction of the Maison de la Radio, n/d (circa mid 1960s)

Godard made use of characteristic inter-titles (“Nord” and “Sud”) to indicate when the characters travel north and south of the river Seine. This text, shown in bright neon text against a black background, means that are not permitted the expected and scenic image of the Seine. The only time we do see a river is at the film’s beginning, when Caution drives across a section of more industrial bridge alongside a passing train. We recognise nothing. The shot again obscures the historicity and ‘grandeur’ of Paris, transforming it instead into an unclear ‘industrialscape’, of a new architectural norm “accompanied by a denigration of the old”, as a preference for the strikingly, futuristic “new”.6 This trend would culminate in 1971, when architect Renzo Piano would win the bid to complete the iconic Pompidou Centre – a truly awe inspiring, functionally futuristic construction which signalled the arrival of the modern city as a technical city. Godard was not strictly against this innovation and the “new”, but was still telling a story about “pain” and modernity which, for all is glorification of the jet-pack, might still burn those left on the ground. Tellingly, for Godard, much of this development was, for the first time, private. During the 1960s, this elite “verticality” would come to be embodied in the gradual steel erection of the famous Montparnasse Tower, designed by Eugène Beaudouin and team (that would reach completion in 1973), celebrated as the “herald of a new architectural era” in the city. Godard had, in many regards, anticipated these transformations and the scandale that would gather around them. This too was echoed in a 16 June 1965 headline in the popular La Parisien libéré, depicting the tower of the under-construction aluminium-clad Maison de la Radio alongside the Statue of Liberty, asking; “New York? No, Paris!”, suggesting the excitement – which Godard found so troubling – around the architectural Americanisation of this Classical Western European city.7 At the same time, excitement about IBM and NASA was also in the air. It comes as no surprise that the original title of Godard’s film was going to be Tarzan Vs. IBM. 8

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

Electrical Landscapes

In this vein, the architectural and quasi-domestic spaces of Alphaville are necessarily a combination of the modern as ‘chic’ and the modern as industry; a brand new hotel with a novel glass elevator; a high-ceilinged clean white swimming pool; a room filled with banks of blinking computers; a glass-fronted bureaucratic building whose actual function is obscure. Throughout, Godard makes often uneasy use of glass – the ‘seeing through’ – to reflect on the act of spectacle and the cinematic gaze. In one scene, Caution stalks the corridors of the central government building when he encounters a naked woman in a glass chamber who is cast, kneeling, in a pool of light, as if she were a machine in the darkness. Godard allows his camera to linger over this scene without explication, and so conveys his cinematic ambivalence toward the ease of this sleepy, modernist luxury – what is supposed to be alluring becomes uneasy and unwelcoming, suggestive of entrapment.

Similarly, Caution checks in at a hotel and is met by a ‘seductress’, employed by the hotel. Caution’s gruff rejection of her body is Godard’s rejection of a soporific and transparent ‘ease’ which the entire glossy city projects, frequently to the damage of the female body which was reduced, in capitalism, to a sexual sign. Preferring instead the lens of his own instamatic camera, Caution’s monologue considers the ‘sadness’ and tragedy which her expression reveals. It is important that he knows and uses her name, and can bear a kind of witness to her own, obscured history which the mass culture of Alphaville, as a city, obscures.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

Sex as Sign

Godard’s own relationship with commercialisation, ‘spectacle’, and the modern were of course also deeply ambivalent, even contradictory. In an interview given in 1963, a standing Godard (occasionally reaching up to push his sunglasses more firmly on the bridge of his nose), suggests that the controversy around Brigitte Bardot’s nudity in his 1963 film Contempt had come because his American financier-producers had asked him to include a sex scene at the beginning, for the film “was beautiful, but not commercial”. 9 Within the film industry, as an industry, Godard appreciated the compromise that was necessary between artistic independence and commercial, industrial approval. Of course, Contempt’s own narrative had been exactly about the risks of artistic compromise and commercialization. Life so often pursues the fictions which it creates. But then Godard cracks a slow smile; “it’s all show business, in one form or another”.

If Alphaville is unsanitary, inhuman, and cynical, then Jacques Tati’s 1967 Playtime presents a kind of counterpoint on the architecture and the transformation of Paris. Of course, the two films share many commonalities; both were set in the new neighbourhoods of Paris and refuse (except in hesitant passing) to depict its conventional monuments or facades. Both feature an ‘old world’ protagonist who is awkwardly accommodated by the modern, and – whether willingly or unwillingly – struggles against it. But Tati’s film is more graceful, and perhaps less cynical – even quietly celebratory. Yet it is still a cinematic representation of an abstract and inhuman architectural landscape and a modernity which pulverises, whether quickly or gently, the identities of individual human actors within it. Were Godard and Tati seeing the same Paris?

If Lemmy Caution and the stark urban tonality of Alphaville offer a dark satire of the American noir film and the anxious risks of globalisation, then Tati’s Playtime presents a world which has already been swallowed by the glass apparatus and marketised veil of an Americanised, globalised world. Unlike Godard, however, Tati did not make use of pre-existing architecture. Instead, he had entire fabricated sets built, designed to look like Modern Paris. Over 100 workers contributed to their construction over a course of three years and the cost of 17 million francs. Paralleling the ambivalence which surrounded modern development projects, despite its sleek and polished facades, the construction was beset by structural and monetary problems. Anticipating the global banking crisis, Tati had to secure vast personal loans to erect his personal Paris, his ‘Tativille’ as it was known. Indeed, the construction was itself the ideal proof of Tati’s critique of a modern architecture in which humans became abstractions and non-entities. Life-sized cut-outs were used to fill office cubicles and to populate Tativille in an effort to cut down on the cost of hiring extras. Tati utilised a more sterile colour palette of greys, whites, blacks, and pale blues to ‘desaturate’ this environment. Everything from clothing to advertisements were executed in the same, bland colours.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

The office interior, including mannequins

Tativille represented a sterilised anywhere – the same, identical grey and glass buildings; identical cars; identical coats, hats, and shoes. This was a cinema which had shifted its weight from the historical and iconic Paris, to the peripheral and inherently global architecture of its new business districts, of La Défense. Accordingly, this is why Tati chose to mimic this agitated process of rapid development by literally paralleling it through building his own sets. When the old Paris appears, it is always by accident, and fleeting. The young American tourist who features as one of the film’s protagonists (Barbara Dennek) continually strains to catch glimpses of these buildings in taxi mirrors and reflected glass doors, all before this changes and the illusion disappears. On several occasions throughout the film, iconic locations are alluded to and dismissed or erased – not only in temporary and partial reflections, but as depicted on a series of dryly funny travel posters (Mexico, London, New York), where the same grey International Style building obscures other, more recognisable signifiers of those countries.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

International Pastiche

It is possible to think of Playtime as a comedy of manners. Monsieur Hulot, the bumbling and kindly protagonist, is not an agent of violence like Caution. Hulot is a ghost, fascinated yet endlessly rejected by the city’s sleek, uncompromising interiors and exteriors. It’s not at all a dark film, yet Tati was clever in taking international modernism and 1960s American commercial design at its word; if this was a design for ease and bourgeois leisure, then a Paris saturated by that ease must necessarily be a playground, a site of fun. For over two hours, Hulot – a sort of Chaplinesque, mostly silent figure whose humour relies on his slapstick ricocheting around and within the built environment – gets lost within a furniture trade show, fails to attend a bank appointment, gets lost within an office complex, attends the opening of a chic new modern restaurant, and gets locked within the lobby of an automated housing development. In one section, Tati creates a running joke concerning a type of low, soft leather chair. Hulot, calmly strolling in a lobby as he waits for his bank appointment, continuously loses his balance on the too-slick marble floor, his legs spreading like scissor blades. Bending to rest and sit on one of these chairs, he delights in the way the crushed material loses and then regains its form with a suck of air, almost as if it were a toy. Tati robs sleek, modern design of its cold authority by making it seem ridiculous. These chairs will appear again and again in the film – in the trade show, in atriums, in apartments, as if – in modernity – there need only be ‘one’ chair to express the sleek meeting of industrial manufacture and bourgeois ‘good taste’.

Alientation Alphaville Playtime

Industrial Design as Play

Tativille came to reflect – literally and ironically – the declaration of the 20th century architectural movement Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), who argued that “the most efficient production ensues from rationalization and standardization”.10 It represented an exquisite reproduction of minimalism grounded in industrial production, eschewing ornamentation in favour of clean lines and transparent interiors. It stood in opposition to the infamous slate-grey Parisian tenement with foliate gables and curlicued balconies. Developments such as the Glass Palace in Heerlen, Netherlands (1935) and the Seagram Building in New York (1958) were representative of the emergence of this clean, functionalist and inherently modern architectural approach.

The resulting International Style came to characterise a form of development which spread across the Atlantic, from Los Angeles to Brno. But it is important not to forget that the International Style did not emerge, despite its appearance, from a vacuum; its uniformity was both theoretical and socially conscious, opposed to heavy, eroded surfaces, dirty interiors, narrow stairways and dimly lit alleyways. There was, for a moment, a genuine belief that post-war reconstruction should translate the utilitarianism of the war economy into a utilitarianism of peace – all of those bombed-out mansions and heavy brick department stores and government offices could be replaced with a clean, transparent and thoroughly modern style. Nobody disputes that Modernism was not responding ‘to’ something. What Godard and Tati grew increasingly anxious about was what was being lost to sterilization and mechanical reproduction.

The architectural tension of Tati’s Paris comes from the fact that its design so leans toward the regulated and transparent that it becomes a kind of prison whose rules are obscure and which seems inherently hostile not only to Hulot (who is definitely not a member of this world), but even those who desperately seek its acceptance. Nobody is articulate and suited to this environment, though many try; the bank manager, chasing Hulot’s reflection rather than his ‘real’ body, breaks his nose on an invisible glass door; the graceful waiter whose foot becomes stuck to a poorly attached floor tile, which he slaps across the restaurant like a flipper; the door salesman who locks himself in his own display. Hulot so often remains unharmed because his body is a body which doesn’t desire this world; those who seek its approval often find themselves broken on it. The architectural ‘model’ for the grey, glass buildings that constitute the main architectural template in Playtime were provided by the very real ESSO Building, as one of the first ‘new’ buildings erected in the Paris area of La Défense in 1963, whose intention was that the company’s employees should be able to work in a single, functional, modern building. On the nature of this new design Tati himself observed that:

I am not at all against modern architecture but I believe it should come with not only a building but also a living permit” (1972)11

Modern architecture – such as the ESSO Building – demands new ways of living in the world; so its buildings must be sensitive to human habitation, to be adaptive to them. What is so strenuous and absurd about Playtime is that its characters are in constant negotiation with its environment, while pretending not to be. Tati celebrates human ingenuity and adaptability, but stresses that people can only go so far. And this was not an apolitical stance, merely a “joke”, where the “ubiquitous object-buildings (of Modernism) also ignored the texture of the city, whose historic form, damaged by wartime bombs, was massacred all over again by road schemes and zoning policies”.12 The four years in which Tati constructed the sets for and filmed Playtime between 1964 and 1967 overlapped with the period of De Gaulle’s white-heat redevelopment of the city’s centre. It participated in an evolving conversation during a period of chaos and change quite belied by the seemingly sterile and ‘inevitable’ Miesian architecture which Monsieur Hulot is doomed to explore. For a time, Tativille literally represented one of those new modern developments at the periphery of the city, and would have been indistinguishable from the ‘real thing’.

In this light, architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, and the design aesthetics of Ray and Charles Eames and Gerrit Rietveld’s De Stijl movement, are the unnamed but highly visible presences in Tati’s film and its mise-en-scene. In reducing his ironic modern metropolis to a vast, childish game, the seriousness and intent of Le Corbusier’s urban theories were dismantled. Tati laughed at the belief the city could be ‘decongested’ of traffic (by the end, a vast carousel of cars, buses, and motorbikes weave and swirl through the streets). Tati urged that such plans would necessarily fail because they were unable to translate their utopian blueprints into an actualised ‘social space’. Failure is embodied at numerous moments in the film, often occurring between the eye and the actual composition of architectural space. In the opening scenes, an extended and continuous shot depicts a large, modern space whose function is unclear. Various individuals arrive in the fore and background – a businessman, a cleaner, a man in uniform, nuns, a woman pushing a pram. As each arrives, without any specific visual clue, we are left guessing as to the function of this space; hospital, office, hotel? The homogeneity and aesthetic sterility of modernist space is used as a gag by Tati, in order to serve a sharp sociological purpose. Even if such spaces are transparent, they continue to confuse and deceive. Only when a plane lands in the background, and an announcement is made, do we understand this is an airport.

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Set Construction of Playtime, 1960s

Linearity and formalism are not inherently bad. Tati dismisses not the material or the intention, but the plan designed without mind of an inhabitant. Tati’s ideal is not anti-utopian, but rather a call for a different configuration of utopia; a social, syndicalist form of self-organisation as opposed to the imposition of top-down, hierarchical plans.

This is a very different world from Godard’s Paris, which is stark, grubby, external. Its stylishness is not conveyed through objet d’art or architectural forms (we rarely see the whole of a building, only components), but through its own self-conscious cinematography and ironic Film Noir plot-points. Tati’s modernity is far more ethnographic, almost like a living catalogue for design or an architectural Exposition. It is not fatal – just uncomfortable. Tati, while satirising Modernity, gives it much more room to breathe; panning shots and lengthy stills bathe in the strange allure of some of these spaces, such as the interior of Hulot’s bank. As Tati said, it wasn’t architecture per se that he had a problem with, only the threat that its fashionable and industrial reproduction would lead to unique and characteristic places becoming “any places” which thwart the kinds of scrappy, human agencies which Tati celebrates. 13 In Playtime, we absolutely inhabit Mondrian’s description of a “Neo-Plasticism” in design, adhering to “the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour”, or Le Corbusier’s plan for the 1922 “Contemporary City” (Ville Contemporaine) with its sixty-story skyscrapers, steel-framed office buildings, walls of glass, and regulated park-lands strung with highways for an increasingly mobile population.14

That Tati chose to use model sets – satirically exact replicas of ‘real’ International Modernist projects – was in itself a double-edged joke; that they were little more than playful toys, but also that it wasn’t so difficult to actually ‘do’ it, parodying Mies van der Rohe’s statement that “a chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous”. 15 And so, in Playtime itself, Tati returns again and again to that minimalist, rubber chair which causes Hulot so much amusement and alarm. It is more memorable than the buildings in which it is housed, as if they exist simply to contain it. By the film’s conclusion, Hulot unwittingly orchestrates a chaotic party which erupts in a sleek, new restaurant as its literal fabric – and the gloss of a new, modernist social order – collapse around them. It is a destruction toward sociality and ‘play’, a kind of syndicalist self-organisation of life within the ill-fitting apparatus of modernism which reflects, as Graham Cairns has suggested, the Situationist détournement, a misappropriation of social norms within an architectural space.16

On the other hand Godard, bullish and agitational, sought not to compromise with this new Paris but to kill it, to finish the work he had begun in Le Nouveau Monde – as Caution and von Braun drive away from Alphaville, its inhabitants writhe and collapse in death. Godard suggests that such modernities are necessarily uninhabitable, even fatal. His architectural concern was more than just a “penchant (for) location shooting”.17 His is a metaphysical and existential problem, and not strictly a social one. And so, between Godard and Tati’s architectural Modernisms are revealed the tensions in the ‘movement’ as a whole, between the vast urban utopianism of Le Corbusier’s Ville Contemporaine to the private and bourgeois furnishings of De Stijl. If Playtime is a Modernism voided of its utopian aspect and reclaimed by anarchic self-organisation, then Godard’s Alphaville is one which attempts to reclaim it aesthetically for the avant-garde, turning Modernity against itself and finding it only capable as an agent of violence and self-annihilation.

 

Endnotes

  1. Jacob Paskins, Paris Under Construction: Building Sites and Urban Transformation in the 1960s (Routledge, 2015), p. 150
  2. Graham Cairns, The Architecture of the Screen (Bristol: Intellect, 2013), p. 99
  3. Caution is a character retrieved from a number of earlier, more typical Noir films also played by Eddie Constantine throughout his career, including La Môme vert-de-gris (1953), Cet homme est dangereux (1953), Je suis un sentimental (1955), and Lemmy pour les dames (1961).
  4. Nigel Watson, “The City of Pain – Alphaville”.
  5. Lawrence Webb, The Cinema of Urban Crisis (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2014), p. 239
  6. Anthony Sutcliffe, Paris: An Architectural History (Yale University Press, 1996), p. 168.
  7. Jacob Paskins, Paris Under Construction: Building Sites and Urban Transformation in the 1960s (London: Routledge), 2015.
  8. Chris Darke, Alphaville.( I. B. Tauris, 2005), p. 11.
  9. See interview with Jean-Luc Godard, posted on 30 November 2008
  10. See: CIAM’s La Sarraz Declaration (1928), translated by Michael Bullock. From Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture. (The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA: 1971).
  11. See: John Engelen’s “Play Time (1967) By Jacques Tati – A Comedy Film About Modernist Architecture“.
  12. Peter Blundell-Jones et al, Architecture and Participation (London: Routledge, 2013) p. 128
  13. See Simone Brott, Architecture for a Free Subjectivity: Deleuze and Guattari at the Horizon of the Real (Ashgat Publishing), p. 65
  14. Penny Huntsman, Thinking About Art (John Wiley & Sons, 2015), p. 141.
  15. Bilodeau and Fraser, Celebrating Thomas Chippendale (2005, Learning Mill Press), p. 165
  16. Cairns, p. 103
  17. Susan Sontag, A Susan Sontag Reader (Macmillan, 2014)

About The Author

Owen is a poet, arts writer, and small press editor. His work, making use of poetry, visual art, and - increasingly - film, explores the relationships between architecture, bodies, expression, and scales of proximity. His architectural writing has appeared in Failed Architecture, The Arcade Review, and Memory Insufficient, among others. He is currently working toward a non-fiction manuscript on experimental film and architectural representation. He tweets @abrightfar