“Les Astronautes” by Walerian Borowczyk “Les Astronautes” by Walerian Borowczyk

If not for the cutting and pacing of the film, it would be easy to imagine Walerian Borowczyk’s Les Astronautes had been made today–and not in 1959. The tinted collage cut-out style ages more gracefully than many other styles, and especially so when placed in the hands of a graphic master like Borowczyk.

Borowczyk was born in Poland, but made this film after emigrating to France. Noted French filmmaker Chris Marker (La Jetée) is credited as a collaborator on the film, but he wasn’t involved in its production. Marker added his name as a favor to Borowczyk, who did not have a French work permit at the time.

Your mileage may vary in regard to the film’s message. Les Astronautes tells the story of an inventor who builds a homemade spacecraft, and uses it to have various adventures, including peeping at women, visiting ‘human’ planets, and becoming involved in intergalatic warfare. There’s a bit of a twist ending, too.

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