Signale – Ein Weltraumabenteuer (1970)

aka Signals – An Adventure in Space
Article 4101 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-8-2012
Directed by Gottfried Kolditz
Featuring Piotr Pawlowski, Yevgeni Zharikov, Gojko Mitic
Country: East Germany / Poland
What it is: An adventure in space

A spaceship disappears. Another spaceship goes out to find it.

The bare-bones plot description is just my way of saying that the movie is in unsubtitled German, and ended up being mostly incomprehensible to me; even the details I did find were mostly due to finding a few short plot descriptions. That leaves me mostly with the visual look of the movie to cover, and I will say that it does look like it’s learned a few good lessons from its no-doubt stylistic model, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The trouble is that knowing a few cinematic tricks isn’t the same thing as using them wisely, and the few this movie has learned get repeated ad nauseum; people appearing upside down in the frame and rotating camera whirls are the biggest culprits, with the latter nearly giving me dizzy spells. Once again, it’s not strictly kosher for me to comment on the story, as I couldn’t follow it, but I sense that there’s a lot of dead space and arty padding, and there’s something about how the final moments play out to give me the sense that the story isn’t particularly special in the first place. And, given this movie has a rating of 3.7 on IMDB, I suspect my instincts will prove to be right. Still, the movie has some sequences that are just plain weird; I’d like to know why we have all the footage of gymnasts on the beach, and what the animated segment (showing one character’s love affair with a beautiful woman with eyelashes half the size of her body) has to do with anything.

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