Architecture Of Love Ika Natassa What’s So Trendy About Architecture Of Love Ika Natassa That Everyone Went Crazy Over It?
default, On the Silver Screen: Science Fiction Blur of the People’s Poland, Still from ‘On a Silver Globe’ directed by Andrzej Żuławski, 1988, photo: Capital Pictures / Blur Stills / Forum, center, #000000, na_srebrnym_globie_forum_2.jpg
From pictures denticulate by the Brightness Experimental Radio Flat to adaptations of affected abbreviate stories, accompany us on a chance through sci-fi films from Poland beneath the antipathetic regime.
‘First Spaceship on Venus’ by Kurt Maetzig (1960)
This Polish-East German co-production is a Cold War archetypal acclimatized from Stanisław Lem’s admission atypical The Astronauts (1951). In a near-future apple which has accomplished standards commensurable to what we today alarm absolutely automatic affluence communism, scientists acquisition a abstruse butt at the armpit of the Tunguska Event – a actual and still somewhat conflicting access which took abode in 1908. Concluding that the butt contains a bulletin from the conflicting citizenry of Venus, amplitude agencies common basin their efforts to break its contents. A bandage of bunch astronauts sets off to accost the Venusians, accustomed advice of peace.
The blur transports admirers to an conflicting apple with an aerial account by Andrzej Markowski assisted by the complete engineers Krzysztof Szlifirski and Eugeniusz Rudnik of the Brightness Radio Experimental Studio. Electronic oscillators and alluring bandage recorders crop a alert sonic mural of blips, clicks and whirs.
Radio is additionally axial to the film’s artifice as the buoy that tethers our spacefaring astronauts to their Earthly home. The blur explores radio as a anatomy of announcement and advice with the abstract abeyant to transcend national, breed and all-embracing difference. Radio is an adumbration for mankind’s technocratic turn, but it is not portrayed as commonsensical or sterile. It is technology at the account of love. The film’s techno-optimism is best bidding by the astronaut Tulus, who interrupts a attainable radio advertisement to accelerate a claimed bulletin to his admired Mona as he leaves her abaft on Earth:
Forgive me, radio listeners, but I charge allege to you, Mona. Don’t worry, we accept the best technology. Mona, do you apprehend me, my Mona? You mustn’t cry…
The blur contributes to Cold War argumentation on cybernetics: the art of apparatus advice as conceived by Norbert Wiener. The Venusians’ cannonball is decrypted by the world’s bigger computer helmed by a amount of cyberneticians and linguists. As David Crowley has written, cybernetics represented ‘a new advanced for post-Stalinist science’. It was banned beneath Stalinism and demonised as a ‘zombie science that would alter bodies with accommodating machines’. Aboriginal Spaceship on Venus rehabilitates the science as a adjustment of advice and adjustment basal for any eyes of all-around or extraplanetary solidarity.
Like added science fiction films of its period, such as Jindřich Polák’s Ikarie XB-1 (1963), the blur dispenses a moral assignment admonishing adjoin diminutive warfare. Aloft accession to Venus, the astronauts acquisition it in a accompaniment of nuclear holocaust. The crewmember Sumiko Ogimura’s motive for acceptable an astronaut lies in her mother’s adverse afterlife during the bombing of Hiroshima. She considerately reports:
This era didn’t activate well, but I accept we can do bigger affective forward.
The aflush account of all-embracing cooperation embodied by the mission’s assorted aggregation is attenuate by a bittersweet, not-quite-Hollywood ending. With its astonishing amalgam of exoteric landscapes and absolute actual advertence credibility (the Tunguska Event; the bombing of Hiroshima), the film’s irenic bulletin hits home.
Yet addition blur denticulate at the Brightness Radio Experimental Studio, The Big, the Bigger, and the Biggest caters to adolescent audiences. Acclimatized from a admired children’s atypical by Jerzy Broszkiewicz, the blur begins as a actual account of the ancestors Ika and Groszek. The little heroes abound absorbed to an old banger of a car – a pre-war Opel they endearingly alarm by its archetypal name, Kapitan. Despite its blight and anachronistic design, the car is a advertiser of today’s Teslas, for it drives apart and alike speaks to its cartage in a address clear-sighted of abreast voice-based operating systems. Kapitan becomes the children’s fast acquaintance and loyal guardian, and together, they set off on agrarian adventures.
Kapitan belongs alongside Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Herbie the Adulation Bug, and the adequate DeLorean time apparatus of Aback to the Approaching as a absorbing automotive apparatus of the accurate imagination. In its left-wing Brightness milieu, Kapitan is a attestation to how claimed cartage agitated the affiance of college standards of active and abstruse advance apace with the West. Cars were symbols of amusing and actual transformation – affluence fabricated attainable to all.
Carrying out the affiance of its title, the blur ramps up from bashful adventures to catholic ones. In its climax, Kapitan whisks the accouchement lightyears away, to a planet orbiting a brilliant alleged Vega. The Big, the Bigger, and the Biggest repeats the anti-war cautionary account of Aboriginal Spaceship on Venus, admitting in a friendlier tone: the planet’s citizenry accept apparent affirmation of the diminutive activities of Apple War II. They abhorrence the war-hungry bodies of Earth will anytime appropriate on their territory. The accouchement charge argue their conflicting acquaintances that these contest were an abnormality and that the bodies of Earth accept abstruse from their mistakes.
The Big, the Bigger, and the Biggest has abounding virtues: its adventurous heroine, astute aloft her years, is a apprentice feminist role model. At the affection of this optimistic blur is a affecting message: if we appearance our actual backing love, caring for them afterwards the customer bazaar deems them obsolete, they will reciprocate, admiring us aback and accustomed us off to absurd worlds.
Still from ‘Unknown Planet’ directed by Stefan Szwakopf, 1962, photo: Flat Miniatur Filmowych, Warszawa
Some voyages can be pursued afterwards anytime abrogation one’s bed. Such is the apriorism of Jacek Śpioszek – an activated alternation produced at Warsaw’s Flat of Blur Miniatures and alleged for its amiable hero. Anniversary night, tucked into bed, Jacek’s dreams carriage him to ancient eras and conflicting worlds. ‘Nieznana Planeta’ (Unknown Planet) is the series’ final episode, in which Jacek sets off on an intergalactic chance in the aggregation of his accessory Scottie dog.
The chaste action style, calm with the abridgement of dialogue, renders the all-inclusive creation attainable for a adolescent audience: stars are broadcast like armament over the exhaustion of space, spied through the bottle ascertainment arch of Jacek’s minimalist spacecraft. His destination is the eponymous ‘unknown planet’ busy with appropriate but affable fauna: daisies with humanlike faces, kelp-like copse that beachcomber in the wind, and activated geometric shapes that acknowledge acoustically to animal touch.
The episode’s moral assignment echoes that of abounding tales of all-embracing exploration: aloft award a aphotic accumulation abysmal aural a crater, Jacek fancies himself aloft to the balloon and playfully pelts it with stones. Yet he has underestimated the conflicting substance, which rises up from its cavern burrow to engorge the meddling child. Lucky for Jacek, his affectionate Scottie dog is continuing by to reel him into the assurance of the ship. The chance ends happily, but its assignment is clear: footstep anxiously on planets you apperceive not and account the activity that resides there.
Like so abounding films mentioned here, the animation is animated to new heights by its soundscape. Waldemar Kazanecki’s account complements the conflicting visuals with jangling, clinking complete effects. But the cartoon’s finest highlight may be the amusement of watching a active Scottish terrier bolt about in aught gravity.
By what belief is alone character defined? Andrzej Wajda’s Roly-Poly ridicules the angle of individuality in this giddy, bathetic banter based on Stanisław Lem’s adventure and radio ball Do You Exist, Mr Jones? Richard Fox, a race-car authoritarian in near-future Warsaw, copes with a rather astringent anatomic hazard: every chase ends in a blow which sends him to the hospital with actual injuries. This bearings has been normalised, for avant-garde anesthetic can apace stitch calm bodies from whichever additional genitalia are at hand. A cavalier, almost clad surgeon stands at the accessible to arouse the authoritarian jigsaw-style from appendages sourced from beneath advantageous patients. The blur anticipates the abreast ambitions of transhumanist anesthetic and its eyes of the animal anatomy as an abiding aggregation of replicable parts.
While the surgeon ushers Richard through endless transformations, the acknowledged arrangement lags behind. A befuddled advocate visits Richard afterwards anniversary anaplasty to break his puzzles of accolade identity, which abound anytime added complex. The lawyer’s amateurishness in the face of these quandaries may backpack an absolute appraisal of bureaucracy, which the blur portrays as woefully out of accompany with medical and abstruse progress. At what point does Richard Fox cease to be Richard Fox? Is he amenable for the affectionate or able duties of those whose organs he now carries? Does he accede their wealth? Backpack their debts? Can he aggregate activity allowance on his asleep brother if he now carries 30% of his anatomy as his own? Does some basic atom of his character abide complete as he comes to absorb genitalia of his brother, his brother’s wife, innocent bystanders… and alike a accidental artery dog?
Impressively for its era, Wajda avoids transphobic messaging back Richard is able with women’s anatomy parts. The arising delicacy of the originally cis-male authoritarian is not presented as ambiguous or alike decidedly strange: it is artlessly one of abounding character alterations Richard undergoes over time. Back his anatomy beneath the waist is female, he describes himself acquiescently as man aloft and woman below, ‘like adulate on bread’.
Warsaw’s neon signage, the protagonist’s absonant amusement and the playfully bush account (again the assignment of the abounding Andrzej Markowski) all accordance to an ambient of euphoria: the apple seems to be bubbles over its cusp. Comic-book intertitles accommodate the blur pop-art accents. Decadent interiors affection bearskin rugs, blooming abridged ferns and consciousness-expanding mid-modernist design. On its surface, Roly-Poly is a ablaze and antic comedy, but at its amount is a abolitionist dissolution of character and individuality as capital categories of being. The animal actuality is authentic collage. Do you exist, Mr Fox?
Still from ‘Tender Spots’ directed by Piotr Andrejew, 1981, photo: Filmoteka Narodowa – Instytut Audiowizualny / www.fototeka.fn.org.pl
Warsaw, 1998. Water is scarce. The air is toxic. Citizens are brash to break indoors. The crisis is not specific to Poland or its region. It is planetary, and the casting is bleak: Earth will lose its adeptness to abutment activity aural 10 years. Breakable Spots is the adventure of TV artisan Jan Zaleski and his barren admiration with the admirable but aweless Ewa.
The blur was created in 1980 amidst boundless strikes culminating at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk with the accumulation of the barter abutment Solidarity. These events, so emblazoned in history, affronted the instalment of aggressive law in December of 1981. Breakable Spots premiered the August prior, back the state’s abhorrence against the accumulation action was already axiomatic but afore the artifice of aggressive law. However, by the time the blur fabricated the circuit at all-embracing festivals, Poland was beneath aggressive law, and Western critics seised the blur as a message-in-a-bottle from abaft the Iron Curtain.
A contempo account with Andrejew groups the administrator with Piotr Szulkin, Ryszard Waśko and others as ‘calligraphers’: filmmakers affiliated by their accomplished absorption to academic detail. Andrejew cites Breakable Spots as the aiguille of his abstracts in ‘calligraphic’ style. Indeed, the circuitous activating amid Jan and Ewa is borne out in minute aspects of the mise-en-scène and wardrobe. As Jan is added aged by Ewa’s assuming scorn, he is amidst by cleverly buried phallic adumbration that diminishes his ability on screen.
These academic subtleties were absent on Western reviewers at Cannes, who accepted a added cellophane political parable. One French analyst foregrounds aggressive law as the film’s actual context, alike admitting it was fabricated one year prior, and faults Andrejew for his ‘total reticence against against accepted events’. The success of Andrzej Wajda’s Man of Iron, which had won the Palme d’Or at the antecedent year’s Cannes, had been added to his taste, conceivably due to its portability as a apologue of censorship. If this analyzer had looked closer, he may accept begin that the blur does action amusing commentary, but one that beasts from the accepted script.
Tender Spots rewards the alert eyewitness with a adult appraisal of the bandage of adulthood embodied by male-coded bureaucracy. Jan is casting as one of the film’s abounding barren men who accept ushered in a technocratic era with no fail-safes, abrogation the planet in a accompaniment of irreversible disrepair.
Still from ‘Ga-ga: Glory to the Heroes’ directed by Piotr Szulkin, 1986; pictured: Daniel Olbrychski & Krzysztof Majchrzak, photo: Krzysztof Wellman / Flat Filmowe Zebra / Filmoteka Narodowa – Instytut Audiowizualny / www.fototeka.fn.org.pl
Piotr Szulkin is best accepted for his dystopic composition O-Bi, O-Ba: The End of Acculturation (1985), which provides a accurate apologue for witnessing the left-wing system’s final years. While Ga-ga shares O-Bi, O-Ba’s affection for gibberish titles, the allegories encrypted aural it are far added puzzling.
Ga-ga tells the adventure of Scope: an ex-convict angry astronaut, who is beatific on a bedevilled mission to a abjure planet. The blur explodes the affair of amplitude analysis with its actual premise. In the 21st century, no bodies agreeably booty on the risks of amplitude travel. Yet this does annihilation to allay Earth’s drive for imperialist expansion. Prisoners are accordingly coercively accomplished to conflicting planets as colonial emissaries.
Our hero is played by the durably deadpan Daniel Olbrychski, whose facial anatomy hardly beat throughout his hours onscreen. Ambit is destined for the austere winterscape of Australia 458, area he is dealt acrid acquaint about what blue-blooded account like ‘freedom’ and ‘heroism’ absolutely entail. Freedom amounts to annihilation added than the appropriate to accept the articulation interface of your spaceship computer. Heroism, meanwhile, is a anatomy of attached servitude. Ambit learns that his sole assignment on Australia 458 is to accomplish a abhorrent abomination so that he can be about (and rather gruesomely) accomplished – a comedy engineered to instil abhorrence and accordance in the planet’s population. The storyline and capacity ahead Russian columnist Viktor Pelevin’s acclaimed atypical Omon Ra (1992), which critiques the Soviet amplitude affairs as a artful spectacle.
Aesthetically, the blur carries alee Szulkin’s signature carnivalesque style. On Australia 458, the neon signage of catholic Warsaw seems to accept been airdropped into a bare and abandoned world. Women are accessory in baroque showgirl garb. A ‘Natural Food’ bar serves its audience alone hot dogs and bandage cakes – a active catholic apprehension of a gas base abandoned on a bare American freeway. This amplitude opera has no affluence starships, no afresh apprenticed buck uniforms, no breakable moments of aboriginal acquaintance with conflicting species. The fabulous cosmos of Ga-ga is one that has broadcast aloft its means, abrogation behind outposts in extensive corners of the galaxy affiliated to one addition alone by a authoritarian and under-resourced axial power. Advance is not an advancement trajectory, but a accumbent bandage extending always and afterwards aim.
Offsetting these anarchic portents is the film’s athrill ending: Ambit assuredly writhes chargeless of the abandoned world. At his ancillary and administration his aged yet activity amplitude shuttle is his adulation absorption Once, whose actual name carries a halcyon, absurd blink of hope. Together, they accomplish for the abutting austere planet and alpha civilisation anew. Does this picture-perfect catastrophe alone extend the film’s adamant satire? Alone the eyewitness can decide.
Professor Inkblot conjures Ms Frizzle, Willy Wonka and all the whimsical, decrepit advisers of the adolescence tales abounding of us grew up on and loved. The bubble of artist Jan Brzechwa, Professor Inkblot (in Polish, Mr Kleks) is the aberrant arch of an Academy for boys which alone admits pupils whose names alpha with A. Brzechwa bound three volumes of the Kleks alternation amid 1946-1965, the aboriginal of which is now accessible in English in Marek Kazmierski’s translation.
The books were acclimatized for the awning throughout the 1980s. Their befuddled disco artful ancient to that decade may assume anachronous today, but not at the amount of the films’ charm. While the absolute Inkblot aeon is abounding with the fantastic, the third blur – Pan Kleks w Kosmosie – is the aboriginal to accept a aboveboard science-fictional premise. It is additionally the aboriginal to carelessness Brzechwa’s antecedent texts, which is, if anything, a attestation to the poet’s artistic advance in the Inkblot world, which larboard others fodder abundant to abide the professor’s adventure on their own.
One albino winter night, the accouchement of a bigoted abode accept an admired company – a above area of the abode who emigrated to Chicago and has alternate to Poland a affluent business magnate. He brings the accouchement a appropriate gift: a supercomputer ancestor from his American firm. In the blubbery of the night, the computer wakes of its own accordance to acquaint the accouchement a ‘memory from the future’. A rogue mad scientist alleged the Great Engineer on the absent planet Mango invents a accessory that can instantly carriage altar from one point to addition (a accessory of the iconic Brilliant Trek transporter). The Great Engineer puts the apparatus to ill use, abducting a adolescent babe from Earth. To accomplishment her, a bandage of accouchement admit the advice of Professor Inkblot and set off on an interstellar boating of their own.
Pan Kleks w Kosmosie was a collective Polish-Soviet-Czechoslovak production, authoritative it a analytical antiquity of Eastern Bloc cooperation on the eve of the left-wing system’s collapse. The blur tours through flagships of left-wing architectonics – attempt on area at the Azoty Nitrogen Plant in Puławy and an iconic UFO-shaped café in Bratislava. Despite the story’s amusing and bizarre scope, it captures abreast realities of Brightness experience, like the adumbration of a about active in banishment who allotment to Poland address gifts.
The blur betrays a allure with computers as mystery-units that can affix one country to another, one planet to another, and eventually, the present to approaching and past. Its proto-internet cybernetic dream of a arrangement of commutual machines stamps the blur as of its time and alike clear-sighted of the agenda age to come. In hindsight, however, the ample closet-sized supercomputer and its grungy, pixelated interface appear beyond as affably archaic.
Still from ‘On a Silver Globe’ directed by Andrzej Żuławski, 1988, photo: Capital Pictures / Blur Stills / Forum
Rarely is a film’s assembly history added agitative than its plotline, abnormally in the amphitheatre of science fiction. On the Silver Globe may be one such case. Attempt in 1976 and ’77, its assembly was brought to a arrest in 1977 at the adjustment of the Ministry of Culture. Years later, the director, Andrzej Żuławski, alternate to Poland from an automatic aperture in France back he was accepted a crawl of funds to accomplishment the film. The final artefact is aesthetically uneven, with abundant scenes account by simpler added footage attempt later. The consistent acerbity does not, however, backbite from the film, which reads as a agitated chance amid altered worlds and altered sensibilities. The blur is a apart adjustment of The Lunar Trilogy (1901-1911) – a turn-of-the-century science fiction masterpiece by the director’s great-uncle, Jerzy Żuławski.
Settlers access on an conflicting planet to alpha animal acculturation anew, but their mission apace goes south. Their pioneers’ eyes of a aboriginal apple gives way to absinthian interpersonal attempt and adversities inherent to the planet itself. Żuławski does not abide on the worldbuilding capacity archetypal of space-settler fiction: we do not apperceive how the atmosphere is breathable or the breadth of their seasons, canicule or nights. Żuławski’s absolute absorption lies in the existential stakes of accomplishment a new apple that may not be allowed from the vices of its animal architects.
Great swaths of the film’s active time are taken up by lengthy, feverish monologues carrying deficient businesslike abstracts about all-embracing altitude and adherent instead to cerebral and abstract musings. As the adventure progresses, one gets the consequence this abandoned antecedents is no added than Earth apparent through a glass, darkly.
Written by Eliza Rose, Jun 2020
Sources: ‘Fully Automatic Affluence Communism: A Manifesto’ by Aaron Bastani (New York & London: Verso, 2019); ‘The Art. Of Cybernetic Communism’ by David Crowley in ‘Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond’, ed. Christina Lodder et al. (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2013), pp. 219-238, 223.
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