COLD WAVE II: EURO SCI-FI
The Dreamland presents a selection of essential and under the radar science fiction films from Europe.
Director: Dusan Vukotic
Starring: Zarko Potocnjak, Lucie Zulová, Ksenia Prohaska
Runtime: 89 min., Croatia.
Language: Croatian w/ English subtitles
VISITORS FROM THE ARKANA GALAXY 1981
Imagine if Troma Films had been hired to make a Sid & Marty Krofft Saturday morning kids’ show, and if you have some idea of the unspeakable strangeness of VISITORS FROM THE ARKANA GALAXY, a truly gonzo Croatian sci-fi / fantasy about a struggling writer, Robert (Zarko Potocnjak), who dreams up a story of gold-skinned alien androids named Andra, Targo and Ulu from a distant planet. Incredibly, his fictional alien creations become reality, causing chaos in his relationship with his girlfriend Biba (Lucie Zulová) and threatening his small seaside village. The alluring lead robot Andra (Ksenia Prohaska) looks like H.R. Giger re-designed the Maschinenmensch from Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS; watch for the scene where she pours hot coffee and cream out of her fingertips. But for sheer jawdropping insanity, nothing rivals the Mumu Monster -- created for the film by legendary Czech animator Jan Svankmajer -- a rubber-suited, multi-tentacled creation that destroys a wedding party, ripping off heads and spouting plumes of toxic green smoke while a blind accordion player blithely plays his squeezebox. VISITORS was a rare feature film from animator Dusan Vukotic (1927-1998), best known for his stunning UPA-style cartoon shorts including “Cow On The Moon” (1959) and the Oscar-winning “The Substitute” (1961). The long-unavailable VISITORS has been beautifully restored in 4K by Deaf Crocodile and Zagreb Film for this release from the best-surviving 35mm elements. In Croatian with English SDH subtitles.
Saturday, January 6
Ground control has been receiving mysterious transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is dispatched to investigate, he experiences the same strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his consciousness. With Solaris, the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky created a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself.
Sunday, January 7
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Starring: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Yuri Yarvet
Runtime: 166 min., USSR.
Language: Russian w/ English subtitles
A VISITOR TO A MUSEUM 1989
In the near future, the polar ice caps have melted and laid waste to the world. A small ruling class emerges jealously guarding the remains of civilizations, while the deeply religious masses, born “degenerate” from the toxic air and water, are driven into camps or kept as servants. They await a savior. Suddenly a man emerges. He is seeking a museum that becomes accessible for only one week a year, when the sea levels drop and the oceans part—and he is seeking faith in a world without salvation.
Moody, terrifying, and hallucinatory, VISITOR TO A MUSEUM is perhaps the most acclaimed film of Konstantin Lopushansky, a protege of Andrei Tarkovsky. (Church of Film)
Sunday, January 14
Director: Konstantin Lopushansky
Starring: Viktor Mikhaylov, Vera Mayorova,
Runtime: 128 min., USSR
Language: Russian w/ English subtitles
FM (FM Einheit of Einstürzende Neubauten) has discovered something incredible in the monotonous 'muzak' played through the fast food restaurant H Burger’s speaker system: the tracks are laced with subliminal messages designed to ensure complacency and consumerism. An underground hit from Germany's punk and new wave infused youth culture of the early 80s, director Muscha's DECODER blends arresting visuals, urban industrial aesthetics, science fiction, and moments of shocking violence, along side searing commentary on late 20th century consumerist culture. Co-starring punk icon Christiane Felscherinow and William S. Burroughs in a supporting role and featuring music by Soft Cell, The The and Einstürzende Neubauten, this criminally under-seen masterpiece of German weirdness is ready to destroy theaters in a brand new 2k restoration from the original 16mm camera negative.
Friday, January 19
Starring: FM Einheit, Christiane Felscherinow, William S. Burroughs
Runtime: 87 min., Germany
Language: German w/ English subtitles
WOLF'S HOLE 1987
Věra Chytilová’s subversive take on the 1980s teen-horror movie assembles a gaggle of bratty adolescents for a mysterious skiing retreat at a snowbound cabin where they find themselves plunged into a sadistic social experiment. WOLF’S HOLE is both a gonzo genre joyride and a blistering allegory for the psychic violence wrought by authoritarian oppression.
Sunday, January 21
Director: Věra Chytilová
Runtime: 92 min., Czechoslovakia
Language: Czech w/ English subtitles
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS: NEXT CENTURY 1981
Dedicated to both H. G. Wells and Orson Welles, Szulkin’s follow-up to Golem begins with the Christmastime takeover of Poland by a band of hyperintelligent, bloodthirsty martians (played by silver-painted dwarfs in puffer jackets) who enlist hapless television newscaster Iron Idem (Roman Wilhelmi) as the voice of their 1984-esque propaganda machine. But when Iron dares to go off message, he makes an enemy even greater than the aliens: the state itself. Released just as Poland was being plunged into martial law and immediately banned, The War of the Worlds: Next Century is a disturbingly prescient allegory of power, control, and media manipulation in a post-truth world. (FilmLinc)
Sunday, January 28
Director: Piotr Szulkin
Starring: Roman Wilhelmi, Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Stuhr
Runtime: 96 min., Poland
Language: Polish w/ English subtitles