Honest to gods, don’t know how I can be so stupid sometimes. Wrote an entire essay last year based on one quote from Luc Godard’s Alphaville, about poetry turning darkness into light.
It’s taken me till now to realise it’s a biblical reference, and it was only when I’d watched Frankenstein (1931, Dir James Whale) that I realised.
“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.”
Now, I’m not quite sure yet what difference this would have made to my essay, but considering I wrote about censorship, and the film contains a ‘Bible’ that is in fact an increasingly censored dictionary of allowed words that is changed daily; it would have made some difference. Not only that but poetry takes the place of God here in this quote, conferring upon it the power to transform and to save. This in turn allows Lemmy Caution’s, the protagonist’s, words to finally overcome the logical and destructive machine that seems to control Alphaville; an almost deus ex machina outcome for Caution and Natacha.
In Frankenstein, the biblical reference is used to instead make Frankenstein himself take the place of God in his quest for knowledge and the power to create life. His power of transformation, however, brings no light, no happiness and cannot save.