The Astronauts ★★★½

Working on a review of the already legendary Arrow Films Borowczyk collection for The Geek Show; in a turnaround from normal methods I'm logging them as I go through rather than when the review goes live. This is because, simply put, there's a lot to talk about. The earliest film on the set is fourteen minutes long and every minute seems to contain a different seed for some future film-maker.

Gilliam, obviously, who has been such a consistent cheerleader for Borowczyk's work, and who put a lot of his muscle behind this boxed set. Although Boro's imagery is less grotesque and more photographic than Gilliam's animation, the cheerfully daft humour exhibited as the titular backyard inventor uses his miraculous home-made ship to steal people's hats is definitely familiar. The plot as a whole recalls Nick Park's A Grand Day Out, and the use of the Arc de Triomphe makes me wonder if Godard saw this before starting work on Il Nuovo mondo.

There is a link between this film and the New Wave, though it's not Chris Marker's co-directing credit, which was reportedly something he agreed to simply to help the then little-known Borowczyk find funding. Rather, it's the figure of Ligia Branice, an alluring woman in a window who provides the only, very tame, hint of the erotic narratives Boro would become in/famous for. Then Borowczyk's wife (and credited as Ligia Borowczyk), she would also star in Marker's La Jetee as the woman from the future. Borowcyzk's still-photo SF is a lot less profound than Marker's. Better gags, though.