COLD WAVE: EURO SCI-FI
The Dreamland presents a selection of groundbreaking, rare, and remarkable science fiction films from Europe.
DEAD MOUNTAINEER'S HOTEL 1979
Police Inspector Glebsky is called to the remote "Dead Mountaineer's Hotel" – a false alarm as it soon turns out. He decides to spend the night at the hotel anyway since there is no way going back after an avalanche has cut off the hotel from the outside world, and Olaf, one of the other peculiar hotel guests, is found dead. His investigation leads Glebsky into a world of the inexplicable and the supernatural...
Dead Mountaineer's Hotel is based on the novel by the brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, who have their place among the most important sci-fi/fantasy writers due to visionary cult novels like "Roadside Picnic" (adapted for the screen by Andrei Tarkovsky as Stalker) and "Hard to be a God". The film, which starts out as a mystical neo-noir thriller with a whodunnit twist and is soon intertwined with sci-fi elements, captivates the viewers not only with a remarkable blend of genres, but also with an impressive mountain setting and an atmospheric synth score by Sven Grünberg. (DVD Beaver)
Director: Grigori Kromanov
Starring: Uldis Pūcītis, Jüri Järvet, Lembit Peterson
Runtime: 93 min., Estonia
Sunday, January 8
Andrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature is a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide—the Stalker—leads a writer and a professor into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.
Friday, January 13
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Starring: Alexander Kaidanovsky,Anatoly Solonitsyn, Alisa Freindlich
Runtime: 161 min., USSR
Sunday, January 15
IKARIE XB 1 1963
A visionary work of Eastern Bloc science fiction, this mesmerizing Czechoslovak adaptation of a novel by Stanisław Lem 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 deep into outer space, in hopes of discovering life in another galaxy. 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 served as a model for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ikarie XB 1—long known internationally only through a mangled and dubbed reedit—is a singular sci-fi landmark that finds both terror and wonder in the unknown.
Director: Jindřich Polák
Starring: Zdeněk Štěpánek, Radovan Lukavský, František Smolík
Runtime: 86 min., Czechoslovakia
Sunday, January 22
ON THE SILVER GLOBE 1977/1988
Andrzej Żuławski returned to Polish cinema after a 16-year absence with On the Silver Globe, a film that proved to be the most ambitious and difficult project of his career. The largest Polish production of all time when shooting began in 1976, it was halted in the fall of ’77 by the Ministry of Culture due to its alleged subversiveness, before finally being reconstituted and released after the fall of communism over a decade later. The resulting sci-fi epic follows a group of astronauts who, after crash-landing on the moon, forge a new society. As the first generation dies off, their children devise new rituals and mythologies to structure the emergent civilization, until a politician from Earth arrives and is hailed as the Messiah… An inexhaustibly inventive and absorbing film maudit that quite literally creates a new cinematic world, On the Silver Globe is perhaps the grandest expression of Żuławski’s visionary artistry. (Film Linc)
Director: Andrzej Żuławski
Starring: Andrzej Seweryn, Jerzy Trela, Iwona Bielska.
Runtime: 166 min., Poland