Return of Ikarie XB-1 to the Silver Screen to Be Launched on 16 June by Parallel Premieres in Prague and Brno


Following a successful screening at the Cannes Festival, the legendary sci-fi film Ikarie XB-1 enters Czech cinemas. The digitally restored version returns the film to the form it had when it was first made in 1963. The ceremonial premiere will take place on Thursday 16 June at 8.30 pm, in two cities simultaneously! At the same time, the Ikarie XB-1 experience will be shared by watchers at both Světozor cinema in the centre of Prague and the Scala at Moravské Square in Brno. The live transmission between the cinemas, provided by CESNET, is a telling proof of the fact that some visions of the sci-fi genre have become reality. Tickets to both the premieres are on sale.

The CESNET association, partner to the National Film Archive in the process of digital film restoration, will arrange the technical aspects of the transmission between the Světozor cinema in Prague and the Scala in Brno at a quality corresponding to cinema projection. CESNET’s transmission will utilise the UltraGRID technology, developed by the association, and the non-public PragueMediaNet infrastructure, used for multimedia transmission in very high quality. After 16 June, in the premiere week, the film Ikarie XB-1 will be screened in more than 20 cinemas, and more screenings across the country will follow. In fact, not only in conventional cinemas! Among others, planetariums, scientific centres and museums are interested in screening the film.

Ikarie XB-1 has been digitally restored by the National Film Archive as part of a project supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and co-funded by the Czech Ministry of Culture. “Today, cinemas are almost exclusively digital, meaning that if you want to get classic Czech films to viewers, you have to digitise them. In the case of Ikarie XB-1, it was a costly process, involving complete restoration of both the video and the audio. Thanks to that, viewers in the cinemas will see the film in a form that is the closest to how people saw it at its premiere in Czech cinemas fifty-three years ago. The NFA thus fulfils its mission: it not only preserves film heritage, but also makes it accessible to new generations of viewers,” says Michal Bregant, General Director of the National Film Archive.

In this project, CESNET is a partner that provides technologies and infrastructure for cooperation on restoration of film works and helps with the digital archiving method and generation and management of metadata. In addition, CESNET temporarily stores the data in an intermediate data storage until the NFA commissions its long-term digital repository.

The film Ikarie XB-1 was directed by Jindřich Polák, who co-authored the screenplay with Pavel Juráček, based loosely on Stanisław Lem’s novel The Magellanic Cloud. Jan Kališ was the cinematographer, the principal cast included Zdeněk Štěpánek, Radovan Lukavský, Dana Medřická, Miroslav Macháček, František Smolík and others. The theme of the story, taking place in the year 2163, is the voyage of the spaceship Ikarie XB-1 to Alpha Centauri with the task to examine extraterrestrial life forms. The ship’s crew, composed of expert scientists in various disciplines, is exposed to unknown dangers far from the Solar System. It also carries a number of everyday human troubles and joys. The film was distributed abroad in the 1960s (including the USA), and eyewitnesses claim that Stanley Kubrick watched it in New York while preparing his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ikarie XB-1 was praised by Umberto Eco in the Corriere della Sera newspaper in 1963; the British Financial Times called the film the most valuable science fiction film made since the end of the War.

Ikarie XB 1_02 Irena Kačírková IKARIE IKARIE XB1_04


Media service:, s.r.o., Pařížská 13, Prague 1, the Czech Republic,

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