Matinee: Der Schweigende Stern

07.02.2010 12:00
Festival edition: 

In 1957 Hugh Stubbins designed the utopian architecture of the HKW as a conscious counterpart to the Stalin Allee in East Berlin. In the Matinée on Sunday the plot of the GDR's first Science Fiction film will unfold in this very building: Der Schweigende Stern (First Spaceship on Venus, 1959) by Kurt Maetzig pictures the dark vision of a failed civilisation.

Socialism is the most extensive social experiment in the history of humankind that is based on an initially utopian, then scientific, notion of the future: Communism. It is from this realm that one of the few Science Fiction works emerged which really deserves the attribute ‘science’: the Polish writer Stanislaw Lem spent his entire life developing a vision of the future that would incorporate technological, social and psychological criteria. Fittingly, the first Science Fiction film coming out of the GDR as a German-Polish co-production – Der Schweigende Stern (First Spaceship on Venus) – is based on one of his early works. The fascinating imagery in Total Vision (the East German wide screen equivalent of the American Cinemascope) reveals how a global visual canon of utopian ideas was begun to be created in the 1950s; and further developed throughout the following decades until eventually coming more or less to a standstill for lack of new utopias.

Der Schweigende Stern (First Spaceship on Venus), Kurt Maetzig, gdr 1959, 95min (German only)


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