Sunday, 12 August 2018

Eolomea (1972 film)

My odyssey through Eastern European science fiction continues with Eolomea, a 1972 film which I believe was an East German/Soviet/Bulgarian co-production. It was directed by Herrmann Zschoche, and based on a book by Angel Wagenstein.

The plot concerns the disappearance of some spaceships and the severing of communications with a large space station. An investigation is instigated by the authorities on Earth, and a series of curious events unfolds.  "Eolomea" refers to the name of a mysterious planet which it turns out is the ultimate objective of clandestine manoeuvres by space personnel.

The first thing to say about this one is that it appears to take a while to get going, or at least for a large part of its duration it appears to be going nowhere. There is lots of rambling dialogue, apparently about nothing in particular.  Towards the end, however, it all begins to make sense, and I found myself identifying with some of the characters on a human level, because of the care taken to exhibit their traits and concerns.

In the final analysis, I enjoyed it. A genuine story, not just a series of scenes put together for "philosophical" purposes.  Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but a reasonably engrossing watch.  There are some flashback sequences, and these are initially a little confusing, but they do add to the overall effect of the story.

As is almost standard in sci-fi stories of the time, the tale is related against a backdrop of international unity and co-operation, with the goings-on at the beginning of the movie under the scrutiny of some kind of "space council", with representatives from all over Earth. I liked the performance of Cox Habbema as Professor Scholl, the leader of the investigation and the subsequent expedition to the space-station Margot.

Overall, then, an interesting movie, which is less flashy and ostentatious than most of its genre.

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