Gottfried Kolditz' "In the Dust of Stars" (Im Staub der Sterne)
Movie review by Dennis McDonald
This East German science fiction film from 1976 is quirky, gorgeous, and occasionally silly. Ultimately I found it to be surprisingly interesting despite a rather unsophisticated underlying story.
A space ship arrives at a barren world having been launched in response to a distress call. The crew finds an underground society that denies making the distress call. Instead the crew is lured into what seems to be a series of hedonistic parties where their memories are altered. Meanwhile, the sole holdout from party-going discovers who actually made the distress call. Naturally, conflict evolves and the captain of the ship struggles with the decision — stay or leave?
Sets and costumes are imaginative and colorful. The special effects and modelwork are very 1970’s but at times highly original. Some of the vast underground sets and set pieces are surprisingly effective.
Most impressive is the cast. The main characters take their roles seriously, especially the women who run the crew of the visiting space ship. Jana Brejchová as the Captain of the visiting ship is especially effective and could have served as a model for Star Trek Voyager’s Captain Janeway.
Still, the viewer will also be jarred by the odd dancing, music, clothes, and occasional nudity. But it’s a fun movie if you approach it with an open mind.
Review copyright (c) 2019 by Dennis D. McDonald. Viewed via the Kanopy streaming service.