A Trip to Mars

Mark Sandberg is professor of Scandinavian/film and media at UC Berkeley.

Bruce Loeb brings an extensive knowledge of the piano repertoire and a talent for improvisation to his scoring for silent movies. Among the many venues where he has performed are the Pacific Film Archive, Niles Essanay Silent film Museum, New York Public Library, and the Cleveland Art Museum.

(Himmelskibet, a.k.a. Sky Ship). Part science fiction and part utopian fantasy, this silent film from Denmark combines the fascination for flight (in the form of the fantastic spaceship/dirigible Excelsior) with a WWI-era imagination of a world without war-in this case, perhaps ironically, the planet Mars. There the young adventurer Avanti Plenataros and his crew encounter an advanced civilization of chaste, pacifist, and vegetarian Martians in a film intended not only to provide a marked alternative vision for a war-exhausted world in 1918, but also an allegory of how the Danish film industry might recover its once-central standing in the international market.

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