Akumulátor 1 [Accumulator 1] (1994)

Honorable Mention

Sometimes a film earns a mention here because of what it isn’t.

Now you can easily find all the reviews and commercial blurbs telling us all about Accumulator 1 and how unusual it was:

At the time, the Czech film industry was too busy making fantasy films to bother with science fiction.

But Accumulator 1, we were told, was an exception — perhaps the only Czech science fiction film of the era.

There’s only one problem with that story:

Accumulator 1 isn’t a science fiction film.

Not even close.

Nor is it, as some descriptions claim, a high-tech vampire story.

That’s even further from the truth.

A young man, Olda, falls into a strange coma.  No one can rouse him until a mysterious stranger, Fisarek, revives using some unknown power.

He’s a holistic medicine practitioner, and has the ability to absorb and transfer energy from other living things.  He’s seen Olda’s strange condition before and knows what is happening:

Television is sucking the life out of him.


Olda made a brief appearance on TV in a man on the street interview, and the camera, well, sucked part of his soul out into the weird world inside the TV set.  There this fragment is feasting on his energy every time he turns on the TV.

Or, in other words, this is a fantasy.

Not science fiction.

So Olda spends the rest of the film accumulating enough stored up energy to destroy TV once and for all, while beginning an odd romance with a beautiful dentist whose father succumbed to the same malady despite Fisarek’s best efforts.

Now, if you can overcome your disappointment that this is not a science fiction film. and that instead it involves such New Age notions as Holistic Medicine, channeling energy, and Tantric sex, then you might just notice that this is an absolutely beautiful film with a lot of eccentric details.

We get a lot of images of vastly enlarged bodily functions shown from deep inside the body — blood pumping, a tooth being drilled, etc., etc.

Then there are the dramatic effects used to show the power Olda is controlling, with enough explosions for one of Schwarzenegger’s Action film; a suspenseful sequence which climaxes with an out of control airliner; and even an Orchestral performance which opens and closes the film.

But perhaps the most eccentric element is the curious world that exists within our TVs.  It reminds me more than a little of the Polish comedy, Kingsize (directed by Juliusz Machulski, who also directed Sexmission) although I’d rather you didn’t ask me why, as I have no idea.  It’s a weird hodgepodge of our everyday world, filled with a lot of people some of whom are familiar from other parts of the film, all thrown in together without out any logical sense.

It’s a lot like cramming the dream world of Koma onto a single soundstage.

Still, what we are talking about here is an elegant and beautiful film (no matter how strange it gets); an eccentric Czech Fantasy with a lively sense of humor, a lot of imagination, and a few strange surprises.

It just isn’t science fiction.  That’s all…

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