Tuesday, 28 April 2015

'Ikarie XB 1'

I'm staying at the bf's, and consequently I've been subjected to another obscure film.  In this case 'Ikarie XB 1', a Polish science-fiction of 1963 which we watched over two sessions concluding this lunchtime.  Shot in black and white, it is an, at times stylish, account of an expedition upon 'Ikarie' from earth to Alpha Centauri to find life, and is based  on the novel 'The Magellenic Cloud'  by Stansilaw Lem.  The director Jindrich Polak also wrote the screenplay with Pavel Juracek.  At times it reminded me of an number of other post war films which the bf has shown me.  In particular 'L'annee Dernier a Marienbad' by Alain Resnais, and the films of Michaelangelo Antonioni.  The music, by the Czeck composer Zdenek Liska (1922 - 1983) is particularly striking: Modernist and suitable futuristic.  It's odd to realise how Modernist music was allowed to flourish under the Communist regime then in power in Poland.

These films come along in quick succession, once or twice a month.  He's got something planned for this evening after the washing-up.  He's even now selecting something with which to torment me.  Heaven knows what.  I don't think they often warrant a full review, so I've introduced this sort of mini-blog to record for my own sake what I've seen as much as to review them.

Ikarie XB 1

Dir: Jindrich Polak

Cinematography:  Jan Kalis

Addendum 05.05.2015

Perhaps Ikarie (Polish for Icarus?) can be viewed as a de-sacralised spiritual journey, a materialist equivalent to 'The Pilgrim's Progress' (1678, John Bunyan) - the encounter, for instance, with the Dark Star being a kind of spiritual catharsis, a necessary purgatorium before the adventus at, and participation in the mysteries of, the new planet.  Actually for all its 'art house' qualities the plot is essentially a simple linear narrative.  Oddly those qualities, in particular the sense of remoteness, of a lack of directness in the acting that you find in Antonioni's films such as 'La Notte' where it is used to underline the characters alienation, while contributing initially to a sense of unease in 'Ikarie XB 1', even of doom, mean that at crucial dramatic moments the film is not quite taut enough.

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