What do you know. They made a copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Poland. It really isn’t a surprise, as everyone seems to have copied that film, with countless imitations from the US alone, including The Jewel of the Nile, King Solomon’s Mines and High Road to China, and many more from Italy (The […]Read more "Klatwa doliny wezy [Curse of Snakes Valley] (1988)"
What with one thing and another, I haven’t watched much Russian SF lately. I suppose it is because I’ve seen most of the better known examples and haven’t felt like watching some of the darker films like The Thirteenth Apostle or Konstantin Lopushansky‘s Russian Symphony. But I got lured into watching this one because of its […]Read more "Seven Elements [Sem stikhiy] (1984)"
In a world where it is impossible to openly speak your mind, science fiction is sometimes one of the few refuges for those who dare to criticize the system. This was the role it played in the Communist nations of the Twentieth century. While failing to comply with the latest State shibboleths could destroy the […]Read more "Seksmisja [Sexmission] (1984)"
I have a weak spot for the absurd Czech comedies of the Sixties and Seventies, particularly the SF ones. The best is undoubtedly the wild Comic Strip characters brought to life romp, Who Wants To Kill Jesse?, which overflows with the outrageous and unexpected. So it is interesting to see another SF comedy by its director, Václav […]Read more "You Are a Widow, Sir [Pane, vy jste vdova!] (1971)"
This is one of those Soviet era SF films I’d never heard of before I actually watched it. That might not say much for the average SF film fan, but it is rarer than it might sound as I’ve spent a lot of time exploring SF from behind the Iron Curtain. I’m aware of the […]Read more "Tainstvennaya stena [The Mysterious Wall] (1967)"
I have long had an interest in history – not the pre-digested canned history most of us get these days, but the messy and often contradictory details of real events, and the unexpected actions taken by real people, which all too often refuse to fall neatly into the familiar patterns we expect. This, of course, […]Read more "Hard to Be a God [Es ist nicht leicht ein Gott zu sein] (1989)"
This is one of Polish director Piotr Szulkin‘s four political parables disguised as Science Fiction films from the Eighties. One wonders how in the world he got them made, as they offer a blistering assault on the realities of Communist life. I believe Poland was, at the time, one of the most repressive Eastern Bloc states, […]Read more "The War of the Worlds: Next Century [Wojna swiatów – nastepne stulecie](1981)"
(aka, The Orion Loop) It’s interesting to note that, unlike some of the Soviet SF films of the Eighties, this one doesn’t seem to have any barely concealed criticisms of Soviet life. Instead, it is a fairly straightforward story about cosmonauts on a mission to explore a mysterious phenomena known as Orion’s Loop. The crew of […]Read more "Petlya Oriona [Orion’s Loop](1981)"
This is a singularly ugly film, shot with incredible beauty. Dead Man’s Letters is by far the best known of Konstantin Lopushansky’s films here in the U.S. It is also the least of them – at least of the ones I have seen. It is neither as harrowing as the absolutely brilliant and indescribable Visitor […]Read more "Dead Man’s Letters [Pisma myortvogo cheloveka] (1986)"
(aka: Dark Planet: Rebellion; The Inhabited Island: Mêlée; The Inhabited Island: Skirmish) This is part two of the recent adaptation of a novel by the Russian SF writers, Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, a film I suspect may have been made at the same time as part one. While the first film (see my review here) ended […]Read more "Obitaemyy ostrov: Skhvatka [Inhabited Island 2: Rebellion](2009)"