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Silent Star (PG*)

Stanislaw Lem on Film

Silent Star

Stanislaw Lem’s novel The Astronauts provided the basis for this deliciously schlocky, Polish-East German space opera.

In the distant future of 1970, the world is a socialist utopia. A cylinder containing a message from Venus has been discovered in the Gobi Desert; when attempts to contact the planet are met with silence, an international expedition of eight scientists is dispatched to find out more.

A glossy production, filmed in gaudy Agfacolor and Total Vision (the GDR equivalent of Cinemascope), the film’s spaceship, the Cosmokrator, and the alien landscape it touches down on, all melted cities and crystalline forests, are a triumph of production design.

Just as striking, are the Cosmokrator’s mixed gender, pan-ethnic crew –  Chinese linguist, Japanese (woman) doctor, African communications officer – this, years before Star Trek.

Poland/Germany 1959 Dir Kurt Maetzig 104 min Digital presentation

* = Locally classified by The City of London Corporation

Curated by the Barbican in partnership with Kinoteka Polish Film Festival

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