Czech Film

Restored Classic Ikarie XB 1 - from Cannes to Berlin

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Jindřich Polák’s 1963 iconic sci-fi movie proves that a film can have another life, even after more than 50 years from the original premiere thanks to the digital restoration, in this case carried out by the Czech National Film Archive. After being selected for Cannes Classics section in 2016, the film is also part of Berlinale Retrospective this year.

Based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem The Magellanic Cloud, this pioneering Czech science fiction film, set in 2163 following a space mission to remote Alfa Centauri in order to search for extra terrestrial forms of life, makes use of extraordinary special effects and unique production design as well as modern electronic music and innovative costumes. The film distributed in the 1960s’ in various countries including USA is said to be one of the important sources of inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“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. Of the hardest and most admirable kind.” said Alex Cox from The Guardian. The restoration of the film was done at the Hungarian Filmlab in Budapest, under the supervision of the National Film Archive. After the renewed premiere at Cannes Film Festival, Ikarie XB 1 was invited to several other festivals including Karlovy Vary IFF, Sevilla European Film Festival or Thessaloniki IFF.

The selection of Berlinale Retrospective 2017 focuses mainly on two themes of the sci-fi genre – the society of the future and the strange and Other, and consists of 27 features including well-known classics, cult films and long-forgotten or largely unknown titles from Asia as well as Central and Eastern Europe. Ikarie XB 1 will be screened in this section together with Jan Svěrák’s short film Oilgobblers, which was in 1989 awared a Student Oscar in the Foreign Student Film category.

The Czech Centre Berlin has also prepared on the occasion of the presentation of Ikarie XB 1 at Berlinale a lecture of the Czech journalist Ivan Adamovic called Tommorow’s World in Socialist Czechoslovakia on the reflections of communist utopia in Czech culture.

Czech Film Center

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