Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Invention for Destruction (orig. Vynález Skázy previously released as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) [1958/2015]

MPAA (UR would be PG)  Fr. Dennis (4+ Stars)

IMDb listing
CSFD listing*
FDb.cz listing*

aVoir-aLire (V. Dumez) review*
Moria Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy Review (R. Scheib) review

FilmServer.cz (V. Limberk) review*

Invention for Destruction (orig. Vynález Skázy previously released as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) [1958 / 2015] [IMDB] [CSFD]*[FDb]* (directed and screenplay cowritten by Karel Zeman [wikip] [IMDb] [CSFD]*[FDb]*, along with František Hrubín [IMDB] [CSFD]* [FDb]* dialogues by Milan Vácha [IMDb] [FDb]* based on the story Facing the Flag (orig. Face au Drapeau) [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Jules Vernes [wikip] [GR] [IMDb] [CSFD]* is a TRULY REMARKABLE 1950s-era Czech combined animated / live-action gem that was _solemnly_ re-released digital restored form at the 2015 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival* and has subsequently been made available in said digital restored form on DVD (available on Amazon) for a reasonable price.  The film played recently at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago as part of the 2016 Czech That Film Tour organized annually by the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Czech Diplomatic Mission to the United States.  Indeed, presenting the film at the Friday 6/24 screening here in Chicago was Ludmila Zeman, the legengary director's daughter.

Often today we tend to think of Science Fiction, especially Sci-Fi film to be almost an exclusive province of the United States.  Films like the current one here are a reminder of the VARIETY of SciFi visions available once one gets past our borders.  And it is a _lovely_ trip.  Over the years, I've reviewed fair amount of foreign SciFi films including Upside Down [2013] from Argentina, Blue Desert (orig. Deserto Azul) [2013] from Brazil, Melancholia [2011] by Denmark's Lars von Trier, the Twilight-Zonish The Similars (orig. Los Parecidos) [2015] by Mexico's Isaac Ezban, and the Russian sci-fi films Calculator (orig. Вычислитель / Vychislitel) [2014]Hard to be a God (orig. Трудно быть Богом) [2013] and  Under Electric Clouds (orig. Под электрическими облаками / Pod elektricheskimi oblakami) [2015].  All these films expand our horizons of what's possible in the genre.

And the current film, black and white, done with a truly marvelous mix of 1950s-era animation and live action, and doing so in a manner that respects, spectacularly, the style of the illustrations in Jules Verne's novels, arguably ANTICIPATES the Ian Flemming inspired James Bond films of the 1960s.

What's the plot of this story?  A scientist, Professor Roch (played by Arnošt Navrátil [IMDb] [CSFD]*[FDb]*) is kidnapped by an evil pirate / capitalist / industrialist Artigas (played by Miloslav Holub [IMDb] [CSFD]* [FDb]*) taking him to a far off island with a giant volcano where he forces the scientist build him a weapon of unimaginable destruction, and it's up to the French Navy to come in to save the Day.  Okay, switch the French Navy to the British Agent 007 and move the story by 75 years or so and this becomes the plot to essentially Ian Flemming's Dr. No [book 1958 , film 1962]].

So yes, this becomes a fascinating film to look-up for _all kinds_ of historical, technical, thematic reasons.  And typical of the era, it's not even too long -- about 78 minutes ;-) -- SO it's not even that big of a risk to take ;-) ... and once it starts, I'm _positive_ that most film lovers will just watch this remarkable film with jaw dropped fascination.

Technically, it really is that good and then when one thinks that thematically this story / film could have ANTICIPATED some of the James Bond novels / films that followed, it just becomes all the more remarkable.

Thanks for making this part of this already quite remarkable Czech That Film Series!

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

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