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Andromeda

posted 26 November 2002 03:44 AM

"...she's the one to blame", well anytime! How lovely to be blamed in such a nice way.

Welcome back and thank you for you excellent post about the European cinema.

It is a great pleasure to read it!!

Think there are not many "cinemaniacs" with such fundamental knowledge about the filmmaking in Europe and the influence of European films and filmmakers.

Very nice mentioning "War and Peace" by Sergey Bondarchuk, think it's one of the best productions of all times, although I like the version by King Vidor (with a lovely Audrey Hepburn as Natasha) very much too I think it doesn't come near to the first one because - among other things - there is that kind of "Hollywood-touch".

viragpali, I can't believe it, where have you seen "Der Amphibienmensch"?! I totally forgot that one, but it was a favourite of mine during my childhood (always was getting very upset about the sad ending!). Thank you for bringing that up to my memory!

Now I'm reading "Asteroidenjäger", second edition from the year 1965 - great!! See you. ;^)

Andro

Leostaris

posted 26 November 2002 05:23 AM

Viragpali, glad to have you back! Please don't leave us. We're all big boys and girls and we can all take our disagreements respectfully and still get along with and even like each other.

I really enjoyed your concise history of European sci-fi films and their influences on American ones. I had no idea of so many intriguing works! Now if I can only find some of those movies on video. I'll use your post as a guide to start looking. Merci beaucoup!

mondrian5

posted 26 November 2002 10:03 AM

viragpali,

Like Leo and Andomeda, I say stick around. It is easy enough to leave. I don't always agree, but I enjoy reading your posts. Do you happen to know if there ever was a film made of Bulgakov's "The Master and Margeuerita"?

dimarec

posted 26 November 2002 11:14 AM

Viragpali, good you are back again! You seem to have some roots in the former USSR, otherwise you wouldn't know the soviet cinema art so well! I completely agree with you about Tarkovsky, who created the genuine paintings of cinema art, though not intended for the wide audiences (myself I am not a very art-loving man so it is difficult for me to appreciate his movies completely). There is no need to argue with someone, who can not feel the presence of the genuine art or distinguish it from a business production. Concerning European cinema... As to the case of Russian (soviet) cinema, I think appreciating it (or not) is different for each nation because of its close relation with specific Russian culture and mentality. Americans may not understand and therefore not like some of Russian movies that are the most favorite for Russians, immersed into their cultural realm. There is a good sign, by which I usually judge whether I like a film or not. This is how many times I can watch this movie ever (the same thing is for reading books). There is a great number of Russian movies (especially comedies), that I can watch easily as many times as possible. And there are not many Hollywood movies, that I watch with the same pleasure, while the most of them only once (special effects are great!!), twice, but no more. So I can not agree with Michael's statement: "Why Europeans are more willing to watch American movies than their own productions?" We were some 10 years ago, when these movies astonished us with their novelty, but now we have eaten of it enough. As to Russian SF movies - I do not think there were many good examples (I am speaking of those like "Tumannost Andromedy" or "Thorny road to the stars" you mentioned, with much propaganda in them and directed by not the most talented people and based on a rather mediocre material). The ones like "Solaris", "Kin-dza-dza", "The dog's heart" seem to be exclusions rather, made by the great directors and excellent actors, on the brilliant materials. BTW, as I posted before to this forum, the Strugatsky brothers' "Hard to be a god" is now filmed by Alexey Herman, one of the most talented Russian directors of present time. It's a pity, there is no any information as to at which stage the process (started at 2000) is now, even on the official "Lenfilm" site. Herman may make his movies a few years until satisfied completely - this not the sign of a fund lack! Let's hope we will watch this film soon. Thanks for starting this topic and again - I am with you about Tarkovsky!

dimarec

Glimmung

posted 26 November 2002 11:21 AM

I second that. We need to stick together, and not allow our minor doctrinal differences to interfere with the mission of encouraging greater awareness and appreciation of Lem, Tarkovsky, and Soderberg.

Like Leo, I'm grateful for the crash course in European sf cinema. Thank you all!
I'd be interested in a handful of specific recommendations from you - what should I first seek out, which is available in the US on VHS or DVD?

Viragpali, was the Van Vogt story in question "Black Destroyer"? Though he lost me with his later "superman" schtick (Slan, Weapon Shops, etc), I love early Van Vogt like stories like those in "Voyage of the Space Beagle".

And George Pal had a tremendous impact on my childhood! Atlantis the Lost Continent, The Time Machine, and he produced "When World's Collide". Any other Philip Wylie fans out there? I liked the sequel "After Worlds Collide" even better.

dimarec

posted 26 November 2002 11:33 AM

Originally posted by mondrian5: Do you happen to know if there ever was a film made of Bulgakov's "The Master and Marguerita"?

Mondrian, there is the first Russian adaptation of "The Master and Margarita" made by Russian director Yuri Kara. It was finished in 1994 and not released till now for the reasons of arguable author's rights (conflict between the director and the producers). The film was promised to be released in a shortened version at autumn 2002, but still is not in theatres. Let's hope we'll see it soon.

dimarec

P.S. I strongly recommend you watching "The dog's heart" - the philosophical drama/comedy movie based on another great Bulgakov's novel with the same title and made by the exellent russian director Vladimir Bortko, main character played by as excellent Eugeny Evstigneev. You won't regret...though Bulgakov's language... I do not think it is well translatable. I think this movie has become a part of the Russian culture.

viragpali

posted 26 November 2002 03:09 PM

Dear Andromeda, Leostaris, Mondrian, Dimarec, Glimmung (and anyone who may join us later on) - what can I say ...?... Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments from the bottom of my heart... You are so nice...

ANDROMEDA: I was glad to read that you like "Der Amphibsnhhsc... eh..., I mean, "The Amphibian Man" ;-) (It is a favourite movie of my wife too - she told me that when she was a young girl she always cried at the end of the film.) The Americans had released a butchered version here, in which the last part of the movie was changed into the usual Hollywood "happy ending" cliché: they replaced the original ending with the boy's 'day-dream' sequence (where the boy and girl happily swimming together in the water) taken out from the middle of the story... Well, I am rather not commenting this... Fortunately, the original film is available on DVD with English dubbing + English and German subtitles!

LEOSTARIS: Thanks - and I am very pleased that my post made you look for those films. I am not sure, how far I can go on this Board to promote the distributors selling these films on tape or DVD, but I make a brief list bellow to make your search a bit easier:

First, some prints are available even at Amazon, and the rest is either at Sinister Cinema or at Russian video distributors in the States (such as Souvenir, RBCmp3, or Top 1 Video - albeit it could be challenging sometimes, you can deal with them in English). I have to tell that I mainly collect sci-fi films with outer space settings. Likewise, I skip some films aimed at mainly young audience (but, as a "big boy", really I like them ;-)

  1. AELITA (Russian, silent, 1924) DVD [Image Entertainmet] widely available (at Amazon and elsewhere) w/English cards
  2. NEBO ZOVYET (Russian, 1959) N/A; The "Americanized" 'Battle Beyond the Sun' is available on tape at Sinister (it is also a badly edited version, with some disgusting inclusion by Francis Ford Coppola)
  3. PLANETA BUR' (Russian, 1961) *it is truly a great film!* available on video [the quality is not so great, though, but with English subtitles!] at Sinister + the "Americanized" version [with so-so quality for a DVD print] is/was widely available on DVD as "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" (at Amazon, you should search for "First Spaceship on Venus", as "Voyage..." was released with this film as double feature, but under an incorrect title ["Voyage to the *Fantastic* Planet"]
  4. MECHTE NAVSTRECHU (Russian, 1963) N/A Footage from this film were incorporated into the "American" 'Queen of Blood', is/was available on video [Incredibly Strange Filmworks] and LD [a double feature w/ 'Planet of the Vampires']

    - All of these outer space adventures [albeit their plots are by no means great - with the exception of 'Planeta bur''!] features spectacular special effects and sets - they are just brilliant! (e.g. astronauts standing on a moon of Mars while the red planet is rising behind/in front of them in both "Nebo.." and "Mechte..." - and there were no CGIs back in the 60s...!)

  5. YEGO ZVALI ROBERT ["They Called Him Robert"] (Russian, 1967 - a delighful sci-fi comedy!) available on a super DVD edition with English and German subtitles from rbcmp3.com (in the film, there is cameo appearance of the Robot from 'Planeta bur' - "who" is just as cool as our beloved Robby in 'Forbidden Planet')
  6. TUMANNOST ANDROMEDY (Russian, 1968) video [in poor quality and in Russian] is available at Russian distributors
  7. "CHEREZ TERNII K ZVEZDAM" ("Thorny Roads Lead to the Star") (Russian, 1980 by Viktorov) Badly edited "American" version is "Humanoid Woman", might be still available on tape. The Russians have just made a new version of this film with adding new special effects and new music score (that the original film much deserved), and it is going to be released on DVD (widescreen, DD5.1, albeit in Russian language only at this point)
  8. "LUNNAYA RADUGA" ["Moon Rainbow"] (Russian, 1983, based on by a story of the award-winning S. Pavlov) The original (in Rusian language and in so-so quality) film is available on tape at Russian distributors + an English dubbed version at Video Search of Miami. Good film.
  9. ZVEZDNIY INSPECTOR ["Star Inspector"] (Russian 1980) Available on tape in Japan
  10. DOZNANIYE PILOTA PIRKSA ["Test Pilot Pirx"] (Russian/Plish, 1979, based on a short story by our respected S. Lem) Available on tape (in Russian only) at Souvenir
  11. "IKARIE XB1" ["Icarie XB1"] (Czechoslovekian, 1963) One of the best and most intelligent sci-fi film ever made! Tape (in Czech language) available at a Czech distributor in Canada, and an english dubbed "Americanized" version (with an altered, truly horrible ending) might be still available under the title "Voyage to the End of the Universe" (the creators' name were altered on the credit lines in order to fake as this film were an American film after all - e.g. the director Jidrich Polak became Jack Pollack this way)
  12. OPERATION GANYMED (West Germany, 1985) Not an East European film, but otherwise a truly intelligent - albeit dark - movie. Dubbed version on tape occasionally shows up at eBay. (My other favourite West German sci-fi film - a TV series, to be exact - is 'Raumpatrouille' ["Space Patrol Orion"].)

I do apologize for being so long from everyone, who is not really interested in these films. (I still ignored e.g. "First Spaceship on Venus" ["Der schweigende stern", bsed uon Lem's "Astronaut"] released by Image Entertainment, or the super sci-fi animation, "Fantastic Planet" ["La Planete Sauvage"] from Anchor Bay, both on DVD.)

MONDRIAN: In addition the Russian film having mentioned by Dimarec, there is a Polish adaptation ["Pilatus und andere" ("Pilate and Other")] directed by the highly acclaimed A. Wayda ("Man of Iron", "Man of Marble"). Also, at the Internet Movie Database I have found that there is yet another adaptation, the Italian/Yugoslavian "IL Maestro e Margherita [1972]. I am not sure if they are available on tape, but a nice Russian sci-fi comedy, "Ivan Vasilevich: Back to the Future", based upon another story by Bulgakov, will be released by Image Entertainment on DVD with English subtitles in North America soon. (The original Russian DVD edition with English subtitles is already available at rbcmp3.)

DIMAREC: You are right - I came to Canada from Hungary, and I even visited the Soviet Union once. You wisely and properly summarized the differences in the Soviet/Russian and American cinema. I also have also that very few American film hold their merit after repeated viewing. On the other hand, there is always something to discover in a good East European film.

I agree with you - "Thorny Roads.." and "Tumannost Andromedy" are medicore films at best - nevertheless, I do like their atmosphere (especially 'Tumannost..."'s). It is more like a feeling than a thought for me ... (By the way, the recent "facelift" might help "Thorny...")

There had been quite a few Soviet sci-fi film, which were "Americanized" - but the results were always inferior to the original products (just as if a piece of goold would turn into mud in someone's hand - if the American cinema were so superior to the [Easter] European film culture, should not have it been the other way around [e.g., changing a bad Russian film into a good one]? It is like inventing a reverse alchemy.) Obviously, there are many truly great American films - and, I agree with you again, there are just few east European masterpieces [such as "Solaris" or "Kin-dza-dza!" - or "Planeta bur'"]. But, these few films mean a lot to me, because they are so different and unique - and rare. By the way, if you like Russian comedies, have you seen "They Called Him Robert" or "Ivan Vasilevich"?. Thank you very much for your on-target comments and kind support.

GLIMMUNG: Thanks - and you may check the list above for the availability of some east European sci-fi films on video/DVD. Let me know, please, if you need further information. (For a first, I would defintely suggest 'Planeta bur' - albeit, again, the quality is not good on the tape. However, there are a few titles availabe on DVD, as well.)

As for the Van Voght story, I have read that it was "The Voyage of the Space Beagle". I have this story and "Black Destroyer in a short story collection, so I may read them again.
I like Geroge Pal too - and it is a pity that he had not gotten the budget he was originally asking for to make 'Conquest of Space" - this film could have been the "2001" 15 years before. This humble man really had vision - and his collaboration with space artist C. Bonestell resulted such nice films. I am still [unfruitfully, I know] waiting for a director/producer, who would ask a space artist to design the sets for his/her sci-fi film...

Again, sorry for the long post - and thanks!

mondrian5

posted 26 November 2002 09:21 PM

dimarec,

I love the book "Heart of a Dog" in the english translation I have! I REALLY want to see it as a film by Bortko. I can't imagine...I will look for it at rbcmp3. I don't know Yuri Kara's work but when they release the Russian filming of "The Master and Marguerita" I will look for that too. And Herman's "Hard To Be A God" is still very interesting to me. I feel the Strugatskys should be better known. Great to have more things to look forward to. Thank you.

viragpali,

My family is from the Banat region of what was Austria-Hungary. I have not yet been there but I was raised by my great grandmother. She was from Gertianosch and Gross Jetscha.

Thank you for the tips about the Polish release of "Pilate and Other" by A. Wadya. That should be very interesting. And the other Bulgakov, "Ivan Vasilevich". I should check the Internet Movie Database before I make you do my homework. :^) Thanks very much.

Also, a friend of mine knows Chelsey Bonestell's family and he owns a few original paintings. Hard to come by now I think.

Gryka

posted 27 November 2002 12:13 AM

There is a terrific place with "rare European movies" in Chicago. I believe one can rent videos and DVDs over the internet within the U.S. (membership may be required). Their catalog is impressive and it is available thru their website. I found most of the films mentioned by viragpali. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the place, but for those who are not, it is Facets Multimedia and their website is Facets

dimarec: thank you for information on "The Master and Marguerita" - I will be looking for the movie. Bulgakov and Proust are the only authors whose books I couldn't put away. I remember finishing "The Master and Marguerita" in one night. And yes, I didn't leave home for months when I was reading Proust... :^)

maven

posted 27 November 2002 01:00 AM

viragpali

First of all I'll second everything else by saying it's good that you've chosen to stay. The more time I spend on this forum, the more I realize that this is quite an amazing little community.

Second thank you for the post on European cinema, which says some of the things I've been trying to say, but I couldn't find the right words.

I have to say though that while I agree with most of what you said, I can't agree about Alien ;^) What's interesting about it to me is not really the plot. I think Ridley Scott didn't even pretend that this was anything other then a typical "haunted house" story set in space. There have been lots of them before, and there have been many imitators since. But none could match the original. There is a level of realism here that really makes you feel like you're a part of the story. It's in the acting, the tight handheld camera work, and the remarkable production design.

It is also inaccurate to say that the design was borrowed. The design is unique, and the artist that came up with that bio-mechanoid style, H.R. Geiger, was involved in the production. In fact Geiger made many of the props himself, from the Alien suit, to parts of the alien ship.

Note that this is not true of any of the sequels, which simply "borrowed" his designs, and extrapolated them into something else. Without even giving him any credit in the case of Aliens.

Lastly you could say that it's actually a European film, as it was done by a British director who hired a Swiss artist.

viragpali

posted 27 November 2002 12:00 PM

Originally posted by maven: viragpali First of all I'll second everything else by saying it's good that you've chosen to stay. The more time I spend on this forum, the more I realize that this is quite an amazing little community. [...]

I have to say though that while I agree with most of what you said, I can't agree about Alien [...] It is also inaccurate to say that the design was borrowed. The design is unique, and the artist that came up with that bio-mechanoid style, H.R. Geiger, was involved in the production. [...] Lastly you could say that it's actually a European film, as it was done by a British director who hired a Swiss artist.

Maven: Thank you very much for the feedback - and the corrections; well, it seems that you are right about 'Alien' (and I am not saying this because you have pointed out that it is basically a European film ;-) To be honest, it was partly my fault; in my previous post I was going to make some - rather positive - comments on the film as well, but I just forgot to do that. Anyway, I completely agree with you - as a horror-sci-fi film, 'Alien' is brilliant (I would give a 10 out of 10). I have seen it many-many times. It is just that I no longer like horror films, so I do not watch 'Alien' now. However, again, you are right about praising this movie - moreover, I should add that the music score contributs a lot to the film's suspenseful atmosphere, as well (for example, at the film's very beginning, just before the folks are awakening from their suspended animation). As for the design of the alien - I did not know that the artist who designed the alien was also involved with the production. What I read was the painting by Geiger (done some 3 years before the making of the film) "influenced" 'Alien' (that is why used the word "borrowed"). Thanks for the information! ... And I completely share your good feeling about this excellent group here - and the credit goes to you and to the others who have made this Board such a good place... Thank you.

viragpali

posted 27 November 2002 02:10 PM

Originally posted by Gryka: There is a terrific place with "rare European movies" in Chicago. I believe one can rent videos and DVDs over the internet within the U.S. (membership may be required). Their catalog is impressive and it is available thru their website. I found most of the films mentioned by viragpali. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the place, but for those who are not, it is Facets Multimedia and their website is facets

You are right, Gryka; Facets is also a good place to get those videos. However, I would still suggest to check sinistercinema.com first, because they are the actual producer of some of these movies on tape [and now on DVD - DVD-R to be corretc], while Facets is probably jus distributing them. So you might get a better quality from Sinister, who actually makes these tapes/DVDs right out from their 16- or 35-mm filmprints + their products are less expensive. For example, 'Planeta burg' is cca. $17 at Sinister, whereas $25 at Factes (so even Facets was actually selling Sinister tapes - and not just making dupes [as far as I know, apart from Russian film archives, Sinister Cinema is the ONLY company in the world having a filmprint of 'Planeta Bur'!] - it might be still better to order from Sinister, should the tape be available at both places).

Speaking of European sci-fi cinema, quite a few space operas were made in Italy as well. Antonio Margheriti particularly made some interesting, albeit absolutely low-budget films; by no means I would say that these films are great, but his "Battle of the Wolrds" is really stylish, and his 8-hour TV miniseries, "Treasure Island in Space" [an Italian-German-Spanish update of Stevenson's classic story - having jus heard of Disney's "Treasure Planet", I got a deja vue feeling...], is truly a good film with some really impressive sets and a fully enjoyable plot + an excellent cast (A. Quinn, at al)

Mondrian: It is nice to hear that you too have a Europen origin (even though it is a bit more remote than mine; I have come to Canada 9 years ago). And I was really glad to help you with some info on those Bulgakov adaptations. (From now on I will let you do your own homework, but - sorry - I can not resist to include the link to this comedy at the IMDB: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0070233 ;-)

Gryka

posted 27 November 2002 03:14 PM

Viragpali,

I forgot to add that Facets is a non-for-profit organization (not a distributor, their videotheque is another means to raise money, thus relatively high prices), which means their database on the web does not get updated unless they get someone to do that for free. They do list their phone number, and they RENT movies. Granted expensive but, I might want to look at Planeta Burg, however I don't want to own it. I thought others might be in similar situation.

sinistercinema.com is fun thou! With all that oddities they have they could have Doctor Who, but they don't… :^( I found instead Terror of Doctor Mabuse - not the original one but a remake from 1962. And thus the great German Expressionism got updated for the popular use ;^)

dimarec

posted 27 November 2002 03:54 PM

VIRAGPALI: "Ivan Vasiljevich changes his profession" - that's the direct translation of the Russian title - was made by the ever best Russian comedy director Alexander Gayday. The film is superb, but there are better ones by him. My favorites are "The Diamond Arm", "Gentlemen of fortune", "Caucasian prisoner". Numerous sentences from these films are the part our modern language culture, as well, as those from "The Heart of the dog" and many others. "The heart of the Dog", "Ivan Vasilievich" and also excellent "Kin-dza-dza" actually are not the SF movies, they are rather cinema fables. I also recommend you to find out recently made "Shyrly-myrly" - another great never-stale comedy, that can be in a way related to the SF genre. As to "They called him Robert" - I don't quite remember... this film is not very common here. Is it about a man, who actually was a robot? I can also remember a delightful old comedy "Man from nowhere" about adventures of a spontaneous and sincere savage in the big city of Moscow. "The amphibian Man" is a good film too I agree,(I like its nice song "Hey, Saylor"!). It was based on the novel by Alexander Beliaev, the Russian SF writer of 20-30-s. You may want to get acquainted with some of his books, it is worth - definitely the literature of SF golden age with the specific atmosphere of high spirit and adventure - just what you like! As to no-sound "Aelita" - did you read the original book by Alexey Tolstoy? The perfect language of the classical literature writer (he was not a SF writer indeed). This feels almost like reading "The Time Machine" by G.H.Wells!

Concerning the real SF movies... My favorite ones are those, made by americans! There are very few: "Space Odyssey", "Dune" and especially "Alien", that I think is the best with its incredible mood of mystery and suspense. There is no much philosophy in it, but it does the best in its way. In common, I guess the cinema art has certain limits for expressing any philosophical concept, but it may do much better in expressing a mood, feeling etc, just like the painting art does.

Well, it’s enough for now. Thank you very much for this excellent discussion!

dimarec

maven

posted 27 November 2002 09:30 PM

viragpali Thank you for the kind words :^)

I'm just glad to share some of what I know about it with you since I think it's rather interesting.

I am actually not a big fan of horror either, but Alien works as good science fiction to me. The android "Ash" in particular adds a very interesting element to it in my opinion as he practically worships the creature as "the perfect organism". Then there is the on board computer, "mother" that seems to possess some sort of character even though it was probably just reprogrammed by Ash. And one could go on, there's a richness of themes there, that simply isn't present in simple monster movies.

(and of course who could forget the style!)

viragpali

posted 28 December 2002 11:14 AM

Originally posted by dimarec: As to no-sound "Aelita" - did you read the original book by Alexey Tolstoy?[...] Concerning the real SF movies... My favorite ones are those, made by Americans! There are very few: "Space Odyssey", "Dune" and especially "Alien", that I think is the best with its incredible mood of mystery and suspense.

Thank you for your post and kind suggestions, Dimarec - and sorry for the slow response; I just did not want to interfere with the discussions on Soderbergh's 'Solaris' (but it seems, at least here in North America, it is over now... no wonder, though). So, I do not remember reading 'Aelita', although I did read a few A. Tolstoy novels (and they were good ones, as far as I remember).

As for your favourite [American] movies, it seems that two of them are basically British: '2001, A Space Odyssey' + 'Alien'. Have you seen 'Forbidden Planet' or 'War of the Worlds' (and other George Pal productions) BTW?

By the way, I got a delightful Russian sci-fi animation, 'Mystery of the Third Planet' (based on a novel by Kir Bulichev), that I really like (despite of its truly juvenile approach). As far as incorporating Bosch-like scenery (e.g. the pretty parts in the master's 'Garden of Earthly Delights') goes, this little cartoon is almost at par with the brilliant Czechoslovakian/French 'Fantastic Planet'. Anyway, I have just received the "Americanized" version of this Russian cartoon - and I was utterly disappointed. Firstly, this dubbed edition is ten minutes shorter - "naturally", the American studio edited the best parts out. They eliminated every scene in which there was some gentle humour or just looked gorgeous. And the main character [a professor's little daughter involved with some sort of space exploration] is always - and I mean ALWAYS - talking in this English dubbed version. She "explains" EVERYTHING [that we can already see very well in the first place] and keeps making her idiotic remarks even when the credits are rolling at the end of this butchered and disfigured version. Likewise, the nice original soundtrack was replaced by a Disney-like generic score. The American company did add one thing, though: a robot now burps. (Well, a typical American touch...) The bottom line is that the American company has carefully removed the SOUL of this charming sci-fi cartoon (perhaps in order to provide the young American audience with this "fast-food"-like torso that they can effortlessly digest?) And that is the point where the Americans usually fail - most of the European movies (and some of the American ones made generally before the 60s) had some kind of quintessence (I mean, providing REAL emotion and sense, a message, etc. - in short: soul) INSIDE. Nowadays, OUTSIDE most of these films still glitter (thanks to the undoubtedly professional craftmanship in Hollywood), but there is always a hollow inside. That is why Tarkovsky's 'Solaris' is unlikely to be surpassed. (However, as far as cinema goes, I do have a "time machine" by the means of videos and DVDs, so I can go back to the golden age - and to a better place...)

Thank you.

dimarec

posted 03 January 2003 06:33 PM

Happy new year to everyone here!

Viragpali, thanks for your response. You seem to be the biggest enthusiast of SF cinema! I have just watched trough synopsis and photos of "Forbidden Planet", that I found on web. Unfortunately, these old foreign SF movies were not shown here at time when I was raised. Nor they are at present, when they have no commercial value. Of course, I watched many soviet SF movies, that were intended for children generally (SF genre was never taken seriously by the authorities in the USSR).BTW, if you collect SF oldies, I dare to offer you such ones as "Moscow-Kassiopeya" and "Teenagers in the Universe"("Otroky vo vselennoy"), that were my favorite when I was young. Their plot line is similar with that of "Trough thorns to the stars". Though these films are rarities even here... There are many other Russian SF movies, that are almost forgotten now - "End of Eternity" for example (based on Asimov's novel). As to "Mystery of the Third Planet" - I like it! In my childhood one of my favorite books was "The Last War" by Kir Bulychov (his first SF novel). This author is usually considered to write for children, but this book seems to be written otherwise. BTW it was translated to Hungarian, so you may try to find it out! Its main theme was quite actual for the cold war time: people of Earth come to help a civilization that suffered a nuclear war. My interest to the theme may seem perverted, but one should not forget about the time we had been living at. Did you see Kubric's "On the Beach"? Unfortunately I did not, but I would very much like to! I saw its recent Australian remake. It was very, very strong, despite its obviously low budget and cheap special effects, made in a way very different from the most of what the present Hollywood serves, giving an experience of compassion, remorse, loss ...

You mentioned French/Czechoslovakian cartoon "Fantastic Planet". Is not it the superb French SF cartoon that was released in the USSR in the middle of 80-s with the title of "Lord of Time"? It astonished me then more than "The Star Wars" perhaps!

Well, it's enough for now - too late! Best wishes to everyone in the New Year!

dimarec

viragpali

posted 04 January 2003 01:03 PM

Originally posted by dimarec: Viragpali, [..] BTW, if you collect SF oldies, I dare to offer you such ones as "Moscow-Kassiopeya" and "Teenagers in the Universe"("Otroky vo vselennoy"), that were my favorite when I was young. Their plot line is similar with that of "Trough thorns to the stars". [..] In my childhood one of my favorite books was "The Last War" by Kir Bulychov (his first SF novel). [...] Did you see Kubric's "On the Beach"? [...]

You mentioned French/Czechoslovakian cartoon "Fantastic Planet". Is not it the superb French SF cartoon that was released in the USSR in the middle of 80-s with the title of "Lord of Time"? It astonished me then more than "The Star Wars" perhaps!

Thanks for your kind response and comments, Dimarec! It is too bad that you can not watch 'Forbidden Planet' and other really nice American sci-fi films (made mostly in the 50s/early 60s.)

"Of course", I do have 'Moskva-Kassiopeya' and its sequel, 'Otroki vo Vselennoy' on tape - and I have heard that they will be released on DVD [by M-Film]. Also, I have Viktorov's 'Cherez ternii k zvezdom' (the full version + an American dubbed [and truncated, as usual] version) as well on VHS, and I am waiting for the remastered DVD edition of the "new version" (shorter, but with additonal special effects). By the way, do you know, please, when this DVD will hit retail stores in Russia? (I am frequently checking two message boards dedicated to this film, but, due to my poor [basically nil] Russian, I can not really make it out. It seems, however, that this process is rather slow and only preorders are being fulfilled at this point.)

I have been seeking the Bulichev book ['The Last War'] for a long time. However, I have just gotten a cartoon, 'Pereval', [directed by 'Solyaris' produce Tarasov] based on one of his stories. I also aim to buy the book, which has just been published in English here. (I have just received a DVD featuring another Tarasov animation, 'Kontakt'.)
I did see 'On the Beach' (I think it was directed by not Kubrick, but another "Stanley", Stanley Kramer. Anyway, I found it a truly hunting film.)

As for the animation "Lord of Times", I beleive it is the one have been relesed in North America as 'Time Masters' - and it is another work by Leloux so it is not 'Fantastic Planet'. I have both films on DVD (+ I have the orginal French edition - and it ravishing quality; the American DVD is just terrible). In my opinion, [the Czechoslovekian/French] 'Fantastis Planet' ['La Planete sSauvage' in French] is MUCH better than [the French/Hungarian] 'Time Masters' ['Les Maîtres du temps']. If you like 'Mistery of the Third Planet', you would probably like 'Fanastic Planet' as well.

Thank you.

Andromeda

posted 05 January 2003 04:13 AM

I just remembered two films by the Czech director Karel Zeman: "Die Reise in die Urzeit" (Journey to the Beginning of Time) made in the 50s and another very good one: "Auf dem Kometen" (On the Comet)from the 70s after a novel by Jules Verne.

Zeman used very unique and unusual effects, especially for "On the Comet". Would love to see both movies again.

Does anyone know them too??

Leostaris

posted 05 January 2003 09:13 AM
Journey to the Beginning of Time?! I have a tape of that! I first saw it on TV when I was a teenager, in Japanese. I was never able to find it again until a few years ago when I found it at a Target discount store for about $6. I love the movie! It's kind of silly and the special effects are mostly pretty clumsy but it has a great ambience. I read the director was influenced by the paintings of prehistoric life by the great Czech artist Zdenak Burian. Much of the atmosphere of Burian's paintings come through in the depictions of the prehistoric environments and, in some cases, of the animals too, especially the sabertooth cat and the giant predatory flightless bird. This movie is great fun and warmhearted in its depiction of a group of schoolboys in a fantasy dream trip through the ages of prehistoric life. I highly recommend it. It is educational too, though much of the information it presents is now obsolete. But it is educational for that reason too as it is a record of predominant theories of the behavior and ecology of prehistoric animals as they were the majority opinions of paleontologists of the late fifties.

I'd like to see On a Comet. It is from Verne's Off on a Comet, one of my favorites of his stories.

Has anyone seen The Wonderful World of Jules Verne, from the early sixties? I believe that too may have been a Czech movie, maybe also by Zeman? It had interesting artwork and set design that reminded you of the woodcut and lithographic illustrations that were in many original editions of Verne's novels. This is another movie I need to get a copy of.

dimarec

posted 05 January 2003 12:18 PM

Originally posted by viragpali: By the way, do you know, please, when this DVD will hit retail stores in Russia? (I am frequently checking two message boards dedicated to this film, but, due to my poor [basically nil] Russian, I can not really make it out. It seems, however, that this process is rather slow and only preorders are being fulfilled at this point.)

Viragpali, I have just examined posts by M-FILM STUDIO at official "ternii" site. You are absolutely right - only preorders, that will be fulfilled for those who made orders during 2002. They also announce that the DVD is not yet planned to be sold at retail stores, because the number of copies (that are now made at a DVD plant) will be limited. Obviously they have financial problems (lack of funds or so). How in Russian way it is! They are a little company, a group of sci-fi cinema enthusiasts who made a great job of re-mastering the movie , but nobody helps them. They have rights and little money. I suspect the VHS release was also very limited, at least it was unnoticed by myself. I wonder if I can find the tape now (though I watched the movie recently on TV - probably it was the old 1981 version). So you should have more patience. If I will happen to find any more information I will let you know. M-FILM also say they are doing the work of re-mastering "Moskva-Kassiopeya" and "Otroki vo Vselennoy" (both they and "Through Thorns to Stars" are definitely the most challenging projects of the soviet SF cinema - whole generations of soviet youth (myself included) were strongly impressed by them - T's "Solaris" and "Stalker" should be considered. separately as films not intended for wide audiences and young people).

For anyone else interested to watch pictures and stills of "Trough Thorns to stars" please go http://ternii.film.ru/stills.asp you can also download short videos from another site http://www.fantastic-film.ru/cargo.htm

Viragpali, thanks for your info about "Masters of Time". I should watch it now, maybe my impression will change (I watched it long ago with an excellent colour and sound which was quite astonishing and impressive for that time).I'm going to look for an opportunity of watching "Fantastic planet".

dimarec

viragpali

posted 05 January 2003 08:06 PM

Originally posted by Leostaris: Journey to the Beginning of Time?! I have a tape of that! I first saw it on TV when I was a teenager, in Japanese. I was never able to find it again until a few years ago when I found it at a Target discount store for about $6. I love the movie! It's kind of silly and the special effects are mostly pretty clumsy but it has a great ambience. I read the director was influenced by the paintings of prehistoric life by the great Czech artist Zdenak Burian. [...]

I have 'Journey to the Beginning of Time' on tape too, but I would be even more interested in seeing the original Czechoslovakian film ['Cesta do praveku']. I might be boring (again ;-) to make this note repeteadly, but the Americans probably made a much inferior version to the original one. As usual, instead of just dubbing this East European movie, they edited out parts and replaced them with "nice" shots of the guys visiting a museum in America (in order to mislead the audience as if they had been watching an American film after all, I suppose). Similarly to 'Plabeta bur'' vs. 'Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet' + 'Voyage to the Planet of the Prehistoric Women', 'Ikarie XB1' vs. 'Voyage to the End of the Universe', 'Nebo zoviet' vs. 'Battle Beyond the Sun' or 'Mechte navsterchu' vs. 'Queen of Blood' [aka 'Planet of Blood'], the additional footage inserted by the American companies are just plain silly - and they ruin the plots (like a fly cheerfully swimming in a bowl of - otherwise excellent - soup usually takes the apetite away...) Even the dubbing is annoying in those films (it seems that the "producers" worked really hard on putting "cool" lines in the mouths of the characters - while completely removing all the gentle humour from the original movies). By the way, I have two books with paintings by Burian - they are truly superb.

As for other Zeman works, I have seen a few of them, but (to my surprise, to be honest) I did not really like them. (I just can not comprehend it - I am supposed to be a fan of East European sci-fi cinema, yet I do not like Zeman :-(

Originally posted by dimarec: Viragpali, I have just examined posts by M-FILM STUDIO at official "ternii" site. You are absolutely right - only preorders, that will be fulfilled for those who made orders during 2002. They also announce that the DVD is not yet planned to be sold at retail stores, because the number of copies (that are now made at a DVD plant) will be limited. [...] So you should have more patience. If I will happen to find any more information I will let you know. M-FILM also say they are doing the work of re-mastering "Moskva-Kassiopeya" and "Otroki vo Vselennoy" (both they and "Through Thorns to Stars" are definitely the most challenging projects of the soviet SF cinema - whole generations of soviet youth (myself included) were strongly impressed by them - T's "Solaris" and "Stalker" should be considered. separately as films not intended for wide audiences and young people). [...] Viragpali, thanks for your info about "Masters of Time". I should watch it now, maybe my impression will change (I watched it long ago with an exellent colour and sound wich was quite astonishing and impressive for that time).I'm going to look for an opportunity of watching "Fantastic planet".

Thanks a lot, for the information, Dimarec! It is too bad that M-FILM is not yet releasing 'Cherez..' on DVD. May I ask a favour, please? I would really appreciate, if you were kind enough to ask M-FILM if retail stores (for example, Ozon, whom I am able to deal with from here, Canada - I have just received the Russian DVD edition of 'Solaris' from them) will get some copies sooner or later *for sure*. However, should it be the case that retail stores may never get this DVD, I would appreciate, if you could ask M-FILM to make an exception with me and provide a copy for me - it could be figured out later on as to how to pay them. For example, even though the December 31 deadline has just passed (but by not much), M-FILM might accept my request as a preorder. (They probably do not get too many similar request of fans of Russian sci-fi cinema from North America, so they may honour my humble request.) I do aplogize for asking you about this, but I just can not deal with M-FILM because of the language difficulties + different alphabet (I have sent a e-mail to them in English and in phonetic [?] Russian, but I got no response. Had I had the chance, I would have preordered this DVD before ... But now I would be really disappointed, if I could not buy 'Cherez...' on DVD - especially knowing that it does exists).

As for 'Fantastic Planet', I strongly recommend it to you. (Can you watch Region2 DVDs or PAL videos?) Even its music is superb - and the cartoon itself is very unique, as both the characters and the [ravishing] backgrounds were drawn by using colour pencils. As a result, each scene looks like a beautiful picture - this animation is defintelly not the usual cartoon. It is like Pink Floyd in music - a sole representative of a class.

Thank you.

dimarec

posted 08 January 2003 07:24 AM

Viragpali, my apologies for a late response - online time of my home computer was run out.

I will try to help you. You ask about connecting M-FILM distributor with OZON retail order system exceptionally for your sake. I assure you, this is not a correct method for Russia, it will be a waste of time. What if I somehow manage to obtain the DVD and then post it to you? At first, I could try to make a preorder for myself and they could take into consideration my exeptional request for you. Second, once the DVD is released at last(probably in a few months), some copies may be available on second hand DVD boards, wich I am going to check periodically or put there a claim (a friend of mine buys everything there). In any way there will be no a valid guarantee for purchasing - you should understand. So please post me your mail address to let me inform you as soon as I have something(my mail-address is in my profile features).

BTW, I have oredered a VHS copy of "Ternii" at Ozon store! As to my DVD-player - I do not have it yet, and just wonder whether I should have it (at my opinion that very few movies with a great sound and picture delivered by DVD systems deserve to be watched repeatedly and paid $30 or so). Nevertheless I do tend to buy a multi-regional system. Thanks about your comments about "Fantastic planet". It seems it was never released by russian companies. I'll try to find it somehow on the boards I mentioned above.

viragpali

posted 08 January 2003 11:51 AM

Originally posted by dimarec: So please post me your mail address to let me inform you as soon as I have something(my mail-address is in my profile features).

Thank you very much, Dimarec! I was trying to send an e-mail to you (as it is a more personal matter now, so I de not want to bore the other members ;-) using your e-mail address ["dimarec@miel.ru"] which is displayed at your profile, but I got back that there was a delivery faliure. Is this address correct, please?

Otherwise, I really appreciate that you are kindly willing to make effort to preorder the DVD at M-FILM on my behalf. THANKS A LOT!!!

Peter Elson

I know there was a Russian film made of "Master and Margarita" because I remember seeing it on ( I think ) BBC2 in England a very long time ago ( maybe early 1980s ). I'm fairly sure it was Russian as it contained a song showing Behemoth the cat's point of view and had the line "Chornyi kot molchit" ( The black cat keeps quiet ). I've been trying to find details of this film for ages, but all I can find are details about the adaptation starring Ugo Tognazzi, and a Polish TV serial. Can anyone help?

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