The Phi Alpha Theta Chapter of Washburn University hosted a historic movie night on Wednesday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Henderson Hall.
Each month, Tom Prasch, History Chair and Faculty Sponsor of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, hosts a movie night for students, faculty, and staff. This month, the 1965 film “Alphaville” was chosen in honor of the late Jean-Luc Godard.
Godard was a Franco-Swiss director and a pioneer of the French New Wave film movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s, alongside Agnès Varda, Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut. He died on September 13, 2022 of an assisted suicide at the age of 91.
“What Godard loved to do was play with genre,” Prasch said. “In ‘Alphaville’, he mixes science fiction and film noir. It is a revolutionary movement in the history of cinema.
“Alphaville” is a 99-minute sci-fi noir set in the future and focuses on an Outer Zone secret agent who is sent to Alpha 60, a computer that determines all life in Alphaville. While there, he is supposed to find a missing person and free the city from evil rulers.
“At the end of the day, Jean-Luc Goddard doesn’t imagine a different future from Paris in 1965,” Prasch said. “There is no futurism in Alphaville; futurism is exactly what it was in 1965. That’s one of his jokes, I guess. Although unfortunately Goddard is hopelessly sexist, but if you ignore that, it’s a pretty interesting movie. Everything is controlled by robots and everyone acts accordingly.
The Historical Honor Society provided some snacks for viewers while watching the film, and Room 100 at Henderson Hall is large with plenty of places to sit.
“I’m a fan of cop shows, so I came here for the film noir aspect of the movie,” said former World Literature professor Mary Sheldon. “Having seen it, I believe it’s a must-see film. It’s fascinating to see how Godard draws on a modern Parisian setting to portray his dystopian future, focusing on night streets, glass shaded modernist and concrete buildings.
“From a film noir perspective, many of Godard’s images were extended into later noir, including Nordic noir,” Sheldon said. “For example, there is a list of emotional words that were programmed out of the dystopian society.”
Prasch has another meeting on Wednesday, November 16 to talk about the “Seven Mountain Mandate: Christian Nationalism, Evangelical Prophecy, and the Rise of Book Banning and Burning.” It will feature Alan Bearman, Sean Bird and Jennifer Wiard as guests. This meeting will take place in room Henderson 112.
Edited by: Rakesh Swarnakar and Aja Carter