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Saturday, October 15, 2011
Here's an amazing scene from an ultra-rare, kitschy, trippy, Soviet-style SF film, Ikarie XB 1 (aka Ikaria XB1, Icarus XB1 and Voyage to the End of the Universe). Czechoslovakia's first science fiction film, this remarkable 1963 movie tells the story of Starship Ikaria XB 1's 2163 trek to Alpha Centari. ("Voyage" was the savagely cut, English dubbed version released by American International Pictures.)
The film is generally apolitical, except for this remarkable scene, in which the explorers enter a derelict 20th Century space craft, littered with evidence of capitalist immorality. The visuals are striking. Corpses of tuxedo-clad, gambling westerners, their bodies preserved by open vacuum. The crew killed by their own chemical hand-weapons as they fought over dwindling oxygen. The ship laden with nuclear weapons -- still active after centuries.
Ikarie XB 1 is an ambitious, thoughtful, intelligent film that was decades ahead of its time. It's an ultra-rare "must-see" for any serious SF fan, with high-concept elements galore: a trip to proxima centaura; time dilation; future foods, fashion, music and dance; first-contact protocols; increased longevity; artificial intelligence; bulky socialist robots.
It's said the screenplay was inspired by the work of Stanislaw Lem, including "The Magellanic Cloud" from 1955.
Available as a PAL Region 2 DVD from European retailers, and in the US from xploitedcinema.com. Please buy the DVD to help encourage future DVD releases of other Eastern-bloc SF gems.
Check out http://www.garagemonkey.com -- GarageMonkey.com headed to Laguna Seca for the 2011 MotoGP weekend and our very own Tiffany Paige was surprised to find that, amidst all of the roaring beasts that are MotoGP bikes, there is a vibrant electric motorcycle-racing series -- the TTXGP/FIM e-Power race.
Brammo is an interesting company focused on electric vehicles and a participant in the race. Tiffany submitted this great report about them with an insightful interview of Brammo's Adrian Stewart. Hope you enjoy watching.