Les soleils de l’Ile de Pâques [The Suns of Easter Island] (1972)

Honorable Mention (I guess)

As strange as it may sound, the one genre that most frequently gets confused with science fiction is the occult movie.

As I said, it’s strange.

One can, in fact list quite a few such films if you work at it: offhand, Jmeno kodu: Rubin [Code Name: Ruby]  and Yesterday Was a Lie come to mind and I’m sure there are others.

On the surface, this one is about aliens trying to contact the human race, but it gets there by way of geomancy, psychiatry, Easter Island, sorcery, and even a Voodoo priest.

I guess we can blame Erich Von Daniken, although here we seem to have switched out the “Ascended Masters” of certain esoteric traditions with space aliens.

It really isn’t that big a change.

Pierre Kast, who created the classic French New Wave animated short, La brûlure de mille soleils [The Heat of a Thousand Suns],  directed this one.  Format-wise, it looks more like a documentary than a feature film, with lots of narration, as if someone were interviewing the main character after the events in the film.  Our ascended aliens send mysterious (and very unhelpful) visions to call their chosen emissaries.

Each one has some sort of occult connection and there’s a lot of talk about enlightenment and a new age of wonderfulness for everyone.

As usual, there is the expected pretense of science to all this, with the standard references to things “beyond our science” and even the “occult sciences.” Wilhelm Reich gets a major plug her, which amuses me as he has somehow kept a thin veneer of respectability despite his weird, occult ideas. But it helps if you tell people what they want to hear.

Although I think those looking to voodoo for freedom from rules, taboos and traditions would probably be disappointed.

We also need to note that, like a lot of these tales of spiritural enlightenment, there is little drama: it’s just something that happens to our heroes.

The real reason to watch this film, however (and I should note that this is a well-made effort, which does keep the audience’s interest throughout) is the stunning cinematography of Easter Island. I’ve seen countless photos of the incredible Moai on the island, but none of them compare to the experience of seeing it on film. It must have been incredible on the big screen!

This does, however, lead to yet another absurd moment, when, in the midst of telling us how no one knows how these statues were carved or erected, they reference something that was only discovered by Thor Heyerdahl — who also learned how the statues were made (really. Read his book Aku Aku).

But, hey, why ruin a good occult myth with mere facts, right?

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And check out our new Feature (Updated May 16, 2019):

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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