Jindřich Polák

[Icaro XB 1] Int. tit.: Icarus XB 1. Sog.: dal romanzo Oblok Magellana di Stanislav Lem. Scen.: Pavel Juráček, Jindřich Polák. F.: Jan Kališ. M.: Josef Dobřichovský. Mus.: Zdeněk Liška. Su.: Jaromír Svoboda, Bohumír Brunclík. Int.: Zdenĕk Štěpánek (Vladimír Abajev), František Smolík (Anthony Hopkins), Dana Medřická (Nina Kirová), Irena Kačírková (Brigita), Radovan Lukavský (MacDonald), Otto Lackovič (Michal), Miroslav Macháček (Marcel Bernard), Jiři Vršťala (Erik Svenson), Marcela Martínková (Štefa), Jozef Adamovič (Zdenĕk Lorenc), Jaroslav Rozsíval (doctor), Svatava Hubeňáková (Rena). Prod.: Filmové studio Barrandov. Pri. pro.: 26 luglio 1963. 35mm. D.: 84’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Icarus XB 1 is one of the few films in the history of Czech and Czechoslovak cinema that bear signs of similarity to the science fiction genre as it evolved on an international level in the 1950s and 1960s. It also appears to be the first domestic film denominated as ‘science fiction’ by contemporary critics, after they had been using the term for Soviet or Hollywood production, often reminding their readers of the eponymous literal genre. As science fiction in the simplest sense of the word – taking place in the future, concerning space travel, robots and other futuristic technology, and at the same time meaning it for serious – this film is unique in its cultural context. On broader international level, it is extraordinary for the interest it takes in the everyday life of future generations of humans. For our purposes, Icarus XB 1 might be interesting as a black and white widescreen film shot entirely in the studio, which employs special effects and inventive design to concretize its vision of future fashion, dance, social activities, and habits in general. The long and narrow corridors of the spaceship reveal certain imperfections of the widescreen technology (e.g. deformation of vertical lines near the image margins), but they also enhance the strength of dramatic moments. In its plot, the film is clearly utopian, with a loud humanistic message. It introduces a society where everybody knows their place and works for the benefit of others. There is no money and no war, only friendship and love amongst individuals and nations, and a deep sense of purpose and responsibility. The voyage of the spaceship Icarus stems from the longing for knowledge and deeper understanding of the outer space. The moments of crisis bring out the best in individuals, willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the others, and take risks for the advancement of humanity.

Anna Batistová