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#222 The Last Battle

(1983, Luc Besson)
Le Dernier Combat

Luc Besson is perhaps best known for directing the excellent Leon: The Professional and the not-so-excellent The Fifth Element, but before that, he was making weird French films in the eighties. And here’s one of them: The Last Battle.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the remains of humanity live in ruined buildings in a large desert area, The Last Battle follows an unnamed man (Pierre Jolivet) as he attempts to travel the world in search of a girlfriend. During his travels, he encounters a strange gang, a doctor (Jean Bouise) and a mysterious man known as The Brute (Jean Reno) who wants something the doctor has hidden away.

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#196 Solaris

(1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)

“We seek contact and will never achieve it”

SPACE! Many movies have talked about, many have visited it for extensive periods of time, but very rarely do we have movies pondering the very nature of space itself. But in 1972, Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky made Solaris, a movie that looked into space and then asked “what the hell is going on?” Which is the very same question that much of the audience will be asking while watching the movie.

Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is a psychologist about to embark on a mission to a remote space station orbiting the distant ocean planet of Solaris. The crew has apparently lost their minds and it’s up to Kelvin to head up there and use his psychology powers to save them. Before he leaves, he’s visited by an astronaut from a previous mission, Henri Berton (Vladislav Dvorzhetsky), who brings tapes of his report on his time on the station, where he reported seeing a 12-foot child emerging from the oceans of Solaris, and was dismissed as a lunatic (surely not?).

However, when Kelvin gets to Solaris, he discovers that things really are pretty weird up there. He begins to really freak out, however, when his dead ex-wife, Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk) turns up on the station and starts being all spooky.

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