DFT @ Home | Ikarie XB-1

(Czechoslovakia/1963—directed by Jindřich Polák)

A visionary work of Eastern Bloc science fiction, this pioneering Czechoslovak adaptation of a novel by Stanisław Lem (Solaris) melds Cold War ideology and utopian futurism into a tour de force of space-age modernism. In the year 2163, a band of astronauts embarks on a fifteen-year voyage into deep space, in hopes of discovering life in the “nearby” planetary system of Alpha Centauri. It’s a perilous journey during which they will confront the wreckage of the twentieth century, the chilling vastness of the cosmos, and their own mortality.

A triumph of avant-garde production design that may have served visually and thematically as a model for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (which arrived five years later), Ikarie XB-1—long known internationally only through a mangled and dubbed re-edit titled Voyage to the End of the Universe—reveals itself in this 4K restoration as a singular sci-fi landmark that finds terror, wonder and hope in the unknown reaches of the galaxy. Best Picture Award, First Annual Trieste Science Fiction Festival, 1963; Official Selection, 2016 Cannes Film Festival Classics. In Czech with English subtitles. (86 minutes)

“Packed with sublime moments unlike any film before it… A game-changing film that profoundly influenced the genre and showed that science fiction movies weren't only about special effects; they were also high art. Kubrick must have seen it before making 2001.”–Alex Cox, director, Repo Man, Sid and Nancy

“An epic space flight with a twist… A superb piece of Czech filmmaking.” –Bruce Eder, AllMovie

 

 

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