Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Communist scifi

I think a fair number of people have heard of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 movie Solaris, which is probably the best-known science fiction movie to come from behind the Iron Curtain. Courtesy of last Friday's Radip Prague English-language broadcast, I heard about one that was entirely new to me, Ikarie XB 1:

The classic Czech sci-fi film Ikarie XB 1 looks set to find fresh audiences with a new Blu-ray release next week. A number of major figures in the history of Czech cinema were involved in the making of the black and white movie, which prefigured Western releases such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.

Ikarie XB 1, based on a novel by Polish writer Stanislav Lem, tells the story of the large international crew of a spaceship headed for the outer reaches of our universe in the year 2163.

As you can read in the transcript that's at the link above, the DVD and Blu-ray are being released by Second Run, a UK company that I mentioned back in December 2015 as bringing lesser-known Czech films to an English-language market. The problem is that the company, being British, charges in pounds, which, combined with the shipping, makes the movies very pricey.

As always with Radio Prague, there's not just a transcript of the report, but a streaming audio player, and an MP3 download (~1.7 MB, ~3 and a half minutes).

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