PiFan 09: IKARIE XB 1

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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PiFan 09: IKARIE XB 1

This is not a review, per se, but more a public thank you to the organizers of PiFan for the chance to see 1963 Czechoslovakian science fiction film Ikarie XB 1 - released on these shores as Voyage To The End Of The Universe on the big screen, properly projected from 35mm. Iron Curtain science fiction is something I know very little about thanks to the very few chances there are to see it, but it is a genre of film that I find absolutely fascinating. PiFan is running a retrospective of Czech fantastic film this year and while not all of the prints came with English subtitles included, the Ikarie print did and it was an absolute treat to catch this story of forty twenty-second century space explorers traveling to search for life in the Alpha Centauri star system. The production design is gorgeous and classic, the soundtrack suprisingly timeless, the performances and story strong and - what I always find most interesting in these films - the underlying philosophy of the picture and open criticism of twentieth century ethics at stark odds with the American science fiction of the time.

I've only ever had the chance to see a handful of films from this era and part of the world but I love them and if anybody could suggest any other quality, readily available scifi titles - be they Czech, Polish, Russian or whatever - from the Iron Curtain period I would be more than grateful.

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Kurt HalfyardJuly 21, 2009 3:51 PM

La planète sauvage AKA Fantastic Planet (widely available in R1 DVD now) is also great (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070544/)

TheDougJuly 22, 2009 1:24 AM

I don't have any other Iron Curtain recommendations but another Todd posted a notable review of IKARIE XB-1 on the website:
Coincidentally, I just found ordered this long OOP title from a Czech on-line store and look forward to experiencing this classic in the context of a home theatre format.

ValorDTJuly 23, 2009 11:44 PM

Wow, this sounds amazing. I'll have to get this movie. Czechs have actually been known for good filmmaking, a lot of the Czech children series of the 80s were known throughout Europe. One was sci-fi called something like "The Visitors" - original title: Návštěvníci. It was produced between 81-83 and featured humans time-travelling from 2484 to 1984 to save the earth from a comet impact.