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The Interrogation of Pilot Pirx (15*)

Stanislaw Lem on Film

Pilot Pirx

Based on a short story by Stanislaw Lem, this 70s Polish sci-fi anticipates the anxiety of Blade Runner: non-humans passing among us, unrecognised.

In an undefined near-future, a new, top-secret mission is announced: a test flight around Saturn to try out new automatic probes for passing through the Cassini Division.

Recruited to the mission, Pilot Pirx gradually comes to understand its covert purpose: to test a new kind of android being developed by a shady corporation and which, it is hoped, will come to replace human beings on space flights. Only some of Pirx’ five-person crew are human, the rest are robots: can he tell them apart, and can they be trusted?

Shot in part at various newly-built modernist locations including the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and featuring an edgy, percussive score by composer Arvo Part, the film combines sci-fi speculation with the look and feel of a 70s-era conspiracy thriller.

Poland/USSR 1979 Dir Marek Piestrak 95 min 35mm presentation

* = Locally classified by The City of London Corporation

Curated by the Barbican in partnership with Kinoteka Polish Film Festival

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