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.