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Czechoslovak sci-fi film from 1963 selected for Cannes Classics

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Prague, April 20 (CTK) – Ikarie XB 1 (1963), a science fiction film directed by Jindrich Polak, has been selected for the Classics section of the prestigious International Film Festival in Cannes as the first Czech cinematographic work, the National Film Archive (NFA) said in a press release on Wednesday.

The digitally restored film will be also released in Czech cinemas.

The Cannes Classics section, established in 2004, presents films of great world film-makers, including Andrei Tarkovsky, Milos Forman and Jean-Luc Godard.

“Cannes has chosen Ikarie XB 1 not only because it is an exceptional film in terms of its genre, which is considered one of the inspiration sources for Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but also for a high quality of its digital restoration,” NFA general director Michal Bregant said.

The script to the Czechoslovak film Ikarie XB-1 was written by its director Polak along with Pavel Juracek on the basis of Stanislaw Lem’s novel The Magellanic Cloud. They focused on psychological relations between people under extreme conditions, avoiding any ideological and political cliches.

Besides, the film offers an original visual and sound concept of the narrative.

Ikarie XB 1 was distributed abroad in the 1960s already, it was released in the United States in 1964 under the title Voyage to the End of the Universe.

“Eye-witnesses prove that even Stanley Kubrick saw it in New York when he was preparing his 2001: A Space Odyssey,” the NFA says.

Ikarie XB1 will not be the only Czech film in Cannes this year as the animated film Happy End by Jan Sasek, student of the Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague, will be presented in the Quinzaine des realisateurs section.

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