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Facets presents
Interkosmos (2006)

"Sounds like a capitalist love song."
- Seagull (Nandini Khaund)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 22, 2007

Stars: Nandini Khaund, Jim Finn, Dean DeMattei
Other Stars: Goran Milos, Ruediger van den Boom, Bettina Richards, Anika Bruens
Director: Jim Finn

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:10m:43s
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Genre: experimental


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BBB- F

DVD Review

Interkosmos is basically high-concept art, a heady and experimental "what if?" scenario from writer/director Jim Finn about a fictional 1970s East German/Soviet space program launched with the intent of colonizing Jupiter's moons.

The project reeks of high caliber strangeness from every grainy angle, a purposely coarse documentary-style feature augmented by musical outbursts or deep space analysis of the lyrics of The Trolley Song ("clang ,clang, clang went the trolley, ding, ding, ding went the bell") as Finn traces the imaginary Communist history, complete with a goal of establishing things such as a domed carnival world on Ganymede.

Low-budget, yet perfectly apropos in its minimalism, Interkosmos falls well outside the range of simply being all about some fake science history, with a sidebar love story of sorts between a pair of cosmonauts enigmatically named Seagull and Falcon, whose romance is presented mostly in garbled radio transmissions. Yet Finn—who also plays one of the lovestruck space travelers—chooses to stay well to the left of anything mainstream, offsetting the periodic narration (really the only way to truly know what's going on) with footage of men waving flares, swimming dolphins, and, in one of the longer and more obtuse moments, an elaborately choreographed dance/march sequence featuring a pair of girls field hockey teams.

And that's all well and good for Finn, piling on a fictitious history connected by threads of genuine visual strangeness. Yet the real star of this particular show is the original soundtrack, a trippy alt-take on 1970's rock and Communist anthems. The music steers and focuses Interkosmos when the narrative appears to be stuck in a loop, transforming the simple and mundane into stylized performance pieces, which allows Finn to keep his film well clear of predictability or familiarity.

The worst mistake you could make would be to go into something like Interkosmos expecting a quirky and fun alternate take on the space program, delivered with an easily digestible This Is Spinal Tap hipness. The journey here is only for those with a strong constitution for long stretches of the arty-odd, neatly patched together in such a way that ordinary things take on David Lynch-ian textures.

This is a mock documentary, full-on arthouse-style, where Jim Finn spends 71 minutes telling a story in a way that seems like he's not really doing anything.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The quality of the full frame transfer is purposely rough, using a mix of grainy archival footage and new material shot purposely to look as if it were old. A mixture of color and black-and-white, print quality is periodically coarse, with colors (when used) appearing washed out and faded.

The transfer seems to replicate Jim Finn's original concept, making identifying unintentional imperfections downright difficult.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is 2.0 stereo, and the mix—like image transfer—has been intentionally downgraded to give the impression of being from the early 1970s. Voice quality is periodically distorted, with bouts of clipping. The only variance in the persistently distressed vocals is the clarity of the music on the soundtrack, driven by an enjoyably odd score.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras at all on this release. The disc is cut into 11 chapters.

Extras Grade: F

 

Final Comments

Just when you think you've seen it all, there comes a strange and arty homage to a fictitious East German space program from the early 1970s. Presented as a documentary disguised as the offspring of a musical and performance art, director Jim Finn layers on distaff elements like choreographed field hockey performers and tiny animals in spacesuits, all merged with a Communist manifesto of colonizing the far moons of Jupiter.

Mondo weird and extremely inventive, Interkosmos is very difficult to look away from.

 


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