Monday, June 4, 2012

REVIEW: Eolomea

Director: Herrmann Zschoche
Year 1972
Eolomea is a wonderful little sci-fi gem that presents its audience with an intriguing mystery set in a society in the far flung future. The film enables the filmmakers to tell an intimate story centered on the notion of love, the mysteries of the unknown, and the sacrifices humankind makes in order to obtain their dreams and conquer the great beyond. With a heavy emphasis on space exploration and the toll that it takes on the brave souls that leave the Earth behind to live amongst the stars, Eolomea is a dreamlike cinematic experience that has a great deal to say, that is if you’re willing to listen and watch it all unfold in surreal and abundant splendor.
The film begins with the strange disappearance of eight cargo-spaceships within the vicinity of the orbital space station “Margot”, which has also stopped transmitting. The head of the space council, Maria Scholl, orders for all flights to be grounded until they are able to confirm where the ships have gone and why they’ve vanished without a trace within the range of this sector of space.  With the majority of the space council stumped, one man named Prof. Oli Tal seems to have secret knowledge of the occurrences, and Prof. Scholl makes it her sole mission to get to the bottom of it. What follows is a twisting tale that plunges the narrative back and forth through time, mixing romance, mystery, and futuristic elements to tell an intriguing story about mankind’s sacrifices in their combined pursuit for knowledge. Eolomea is outstandingly obscure, but wholly satisfying in its cerebral approach.

Cox Habbema plays the role of Prof. Maria Scholl, the head of the space council and centerpiece to the film’s narrative. Cox does a tremendous job in this interesting space yarn, and she looks absolutely fabulous as she takes the mystery of the missing spaceships head on. Her character is smart, sexy, and highly capable, yet Habbema injects a great deal of vulnerability into her with the help of some memorable flashbacks that include her interacting with another character of the piece, Capt. Daniel Lagny. Lagny is played by Ivan Andonov and he gives the role a free-spirited edge that not only catches the eye of the viewer’s but attracts the starry gaze of Maria as well. Those moments in which we are allowed to participate in their budding relationship are wonderfully constructed, giving the film an intimate feel that really hits home and leaves a lasting impression. These flashbacks also enable us to feel a sense of disconnection later on in the film, when the two characters are far apart from each other, assigned to their own sections of space and longing to be together again. It’s moments like these that the filmmakers really hit the mark with and it perfectly captures the sense of sacrifice that each space explorer runs up against when taking to the stars.
This concept is emphasized even more in the case of Capt. Lagny’s partner and friend, Kun, played by Vsevolod Sanayev. Kun’s back-story tells of a young son named Sima that he left back on Earth. We see in the flashback, Kun fishing with a boy around the age of five and the sequence is shot in a hazy fashion that distills a haunting feeling of lost memories and nostalgic longing. We come to find later on in the film that the boy in the flashbacks, is at present, a man and Kun has missed out on seeing his son grow up because of his duties on the space station. It’s a sad little side story, but one that emphasizes the sacrifice that comes into play when humanity moves out into space and into a new frontier. Sanayev does a stupendous job with the role of the fore longed father, and even though he isn’t the centerpiece of the film, these heart wrenching moments really pack a punch.

Another memorable storyline features a man named Prof. Oli Tal, played by Rolf Hoppe, who presented a project named Eolomea years ago that proposed a mission to an Earth-like planet, but unfortunately never found approval by the space council and therefore was never funded. We are given a look back into this event, not through the use of a flashback like in the other instances, but through the character’s painful recollection of lost opportunities and stagnated progress by result of the political process. If there is an underlying theme to the film, then Rolf Hoppe’s saddened character of Oli Tal would be the poster child of it. His speech, during the closing moments of the film, is very inspirational and heartfelt as they are painfully presented by Rolf in a melancholy overtone that really captures the direness of the moment. Hoppe does an exceptional job in bringing some of the more serious tones of the film to the light of day.
With all of these random moments and various characters in the mix, you’d think that the film would feel a little disjointed or convoluted. Surprisingly the filmmakers are able to tie all of these jumbled masses into one cohesive story, one that overlaps an excessive amount, but never gets lost from its end goal. What you have to understand about this film is that it has a great deal to say about the desire of humankind for knowledge, and it sprinkles this heavy dialogue over its entire production in a rather unorthodox way. We jump from different time periods and locations, often within a single sequence, making it rather jolting for those out there that are not prepared or patient enough to see it through, but the underlining theme can be felt throughout these moments and it holds the concept together quite firmly when viewing in hindsight. The best way to describe Eolomea would be that it is an experience. It often at times feels as lost as its characters amongst an overwhelming span of stars, but when fully experienced you begin to see how all of the affected characters played a role in representing the sacrifices that space travel and exploration entail. The film is a lovely rendition of some of science fictions most enduring and intriguing concepts, and it really is a special gem worth tracking down and delving into.

Eolomea, though obscure in presentation and execution, is a rewarding film that sheds some light onto what effects space exploration has on mankind and the sacrifices that come with the territory. The intimate approach that the film has towards its material is refreshing and highly infectious. I couldn’t help but be swept up in the mystery of it all and the interactions that the characters have between each other is magical in the cinematic sense.
The overall tone of the film is quite sad, but there is such an abundance of hope throughout the picture that you can’t help but be inspired by the events within the narrative. The heart and soul of the film is to showcase the desire that human beings have in expanding their knowledge while throwing caution to the wind. Eolomea does this in such a memorable way that you can’t help but applaud the unorthodox approach and stupendous result. With a film that tackles love, loss, and the hardships that come with sacrifice and the obtainment of knowledge, you really can’t go wrong with this obscure and surreal flick. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Eolomea is a thinking man’s science fiction film, be that a strange one. Personally, I loved it and I can’t wait to revisit this……

I thought this was a nudist beach? Where the hell are all the chicks?!?!

This retro room is too cool for school.

This tea party sucks.

You wanna play king of the mountain?

Being in space isn't so fun when you have to go to the bathroom.

Man do I hate your space beard.

Lets see if the old hand in the glass of water trick works.
Get ready to pee your pants Danny boy.

God... Thank you for my cool space suit. It RULES!

God... Thank you for my sexy dress. It's SEXY!

Maria is seriously sexy..... seriously.

Shit! I think we took a wrong turn. We're at the Star Wars set!

It's just a paper cut you pansy.

Well it's settled. You're the shittiest robot in cinema history.

Damn man, cheer up.

Come back here with my bike asshole!

We're going to draw a happy little turtle next to this happy little sun.

By God! I think she's getting jiggy with it!

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