Three things motivated us to go and see this film at the Fantastic Film Festival: the idea of watching the film with a beautiful view of the city, the robot that makes dresses, and not-gray Leslie Nielsen not acting in Naked Gun.
Since Zagreb became hipsterish, many parks, secret gardens and old buildings have come into use for events such as music or film festivals. One of such places is the old fort overlooking Zagreb, Medvedgrad, where people fled to save themselves from the Tatars in the Middle Ages, and where a queen screamed in the night after selling her soul to the devil. The place was restored two decades ago — with very little imagination: where the stones were missing, they put bricks, and they built the Altar Of The Homeland for patriotic purposes. Other than that there is nothing more. Usually the entrance is (over)charged 20 kn. The place has been more often used for the last two or three years as a concert or cinema venue.
There’s no better use of an old fort up on the hill, in the middle of a mountain forest, than the SF-horror-mystery genre festival, Fantastic Film Festival – held for the 6th year now. I can’t understand how the (hard) core Craftomoto crew can afford to miss an event like this for some silly dancing at the coast.
The thing I don’t like when it comes to “alternative” and “happy-go-lucky” movie screenings is sitting on the grass. Of course it’s complicated to bring 200 chairs to the mountain just for two evenings, so it may seem reasonable just to put mats on the grass for everyone. And I admit it looks very romantic and nice and everything… but, boy, is it uncomfortable. I think we were the most wiggling couple there. I had to change the position every 30 seconds. First the back ached, then the arms, then the butt, then the left arm, back, right arm, neck, cheek, I need my legs straight, then gather them… you get the picture.
The film? Well, it’s a 1956 SF movie. So… unbearably entertaining. The Earthlings come to the planet where a starship crew had gone missing twenty or thirty years ago. The planet is called Altair 4. I love when they name planet with numbers – inhabitants must be very proud to be Altair-4ers. It’s as they ran out of all the names, and said: “I really don’t know… I am tired, let’s just end this as quickly as possible… ermmh… let’s just call this one Altair 2, that one Altair 3”, etc. But when I think about it, they always say how imperceptible the number of galaxies and planets in the universe is. Maybe they really ran out of names and had no other option than to use the numbers. I expect more of the future civilization – inventing new letters or something.
So, two people who survived the mysterious thing that 20 years earlier killed the crew were doctor of philology and his short skirted daughter who is very cheerful about seeing anyone of her race, besides her dad, for the very first time in her life, and especially the male specimens. While the skipper (not captain — skipper, Leslie Nielsen) and lieutenant compete in seducing the young girl and teach her how and why to kiss, her father is keeping a secret and an invisible creature is killing people. As we expected, the star of the film is Robby The Robot. He can make and replicate anything – although he walks rather slowly. We have to repeat, because it must be heard again, Robby can make whichever dress a woman desires. Every girl’s dream.
The film manages to entertain, even 60 years after it was produced, not sliding into trash-style at all. It ably stays within the boundaries of irony, lightheartedness, and silliness. When you realize it was made in 1956 you have to give credit to the technical elements. Wikipedia will tell you it’s a pioneer in several aspects of science fiction cinema. I – not professionally – noticed a few things that were adopted by later successful franchises — for instance, the visualization of the fazor disintegration.
However, with a night view of the city and a robot that sews dresses, you cannot not have a good time.
Even when sitting / lying / wiggling on the ground.
Photos courtesy of Nikola Madunović (for Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival)