Archive of films Ikarie XB 1 / Ikarie XB 1

1963, 82 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2016

Today a classic of the genre, this sci-fi offering follows the adventures of the crew aboard the Ikarie XB 1 spaceship on its way to Alpha Centauri. The film, a work which inspired Stanley Kubrick during his preparations for 2001: A Space Odyssey, will be screened in a digitally restored version for the first time in the half-century since it premiered.


It’s the second half of the 22nd century and the Ikarie XB 1 spaceship is headed toward Alpha Centauri to do research on extraterrestrial life forms. The ship’s crew, comprising scientific hotshots from various fields, are exposed far from the solar system to unknown, unimaginable threats. But they’ve also brought with them a number of their own mundane cares and joys. Jan Kališ’s wide-angle, black-and-white image, Zdeněk Liška’s innovative electronic music, and convincing sets and costumes create a stylistically sophisticated fictional world of the distant future. Tasteful performances by the Czech acting elite give it an unexpected spontaneity and a psychological dimension. While working on the script the authors were loosely inspired by Stanisław Lem’s The Magellanic Cloud but they steered clear of his ideological and political stereotypes. More than 50 years after its theatrical premiere, the movie was finally digitally restored. The new version was screened this year as the Czech film industry’s historic first representative in the Cannes Classics section.

Tereza Frodlová

About the director

Jindřich Polák (1925–2003), a legend of Czech sci-fi and children’s movies, got his start in the second half of the 1940s as an assistant director on the films of Otakar Vávra and the creative duo of Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos. He debuted as an independent filmmaker with the feature-length adventure movie Death in the Saddle (1958), also writing the screenplay as he did for most of his pictures. His subsequent work is made up mainly of genre films – the science-fiction movie Icarus XB 1 (1963), the war drama Riders in the Sky (1968), and the detective story Hitchhiking Tragedy (1979). In his film and television career he has also focused on younger audiences, creating the series and movies “Pan Tau” (1969–1978), “The Visitors” (1981–1983), Lucy, the Menace of the Street (1980, 1984), and The Octopuses from the Second Floor (1986). His work was repeatedly awarded at a variety of festivals.


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Out of the Past
Director: Jindřich Polák
Screenplay: Pavel Juráček, Jindřich Polák
Dir. of Photography: Jan Kališ
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Editor: Josef Dobřichovský
Art Director: Jan Zázvorka
Producer: Rudolf Wolf
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov
Cast: Zdeněk Štěpánek, Radovan Lukavský, Dana Medřická, Miroslav Macháček, František Smolík, Jiří Vršťala
Sales: National Film Archive
Distributor: National Film Archive


Tomáš Žůrek

Sales Agent


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