13 December 2008 | chaos-rampant
Demented black comedy scifi satire - from Poland of all places
GA A GA is the third and final chapter in Piotr Szulkin's scifi trilogy from the eighties, following O-BI O-BA - THE END OF CIVILIZATION. The three of them are not narratively linked, there's only a general thematic connection running through them. Whereas the previous entry was a bleak post-apocalyptic scifi about a world ravaged by nuclear war, this one instead emphasizes the darkly comic and satirical aspects of Szulkin's work. They're not quite the epitome of subtle is the truth but they're still creative, fresh in execution, and all around a pleasure to watch.
Prisoner 287138 is dispatched in a shuttle from a space penitentiary ship with a mission of utmost importance: to land in an uninhabited planet and claim it on behalf of humankind. In a small ceremony that resembles the crowning of a king, he's given his space helmet in front of the locked prisoners, exchanges a couple of drinks with his imbecile guards and is promptly kicked out the door and sent his way. It turns out however that the planet is not quite as uninhabited as expected and its denizens (who are all human and speak Polish) greet him like a hero.
The scifi aspects of the movie are not meant to be taken serious any more than the motley assortment of colorful characters that make up the cast are meant to be threedimensional. This new world the prisoner encounters is an exaggerated caricature of our world: the glorifying of violence, the media's obsession with it, bureaucracy, religion are all issues that receive more than a passing nod in Szulkin's movie. The parallels are easy to spot, probably designed that way, but no less poignant for that matter.
The derelict locations add a distinctly Soviet charm and a sense of realism and grit the movie greatly benefits from while the pictorial quality and cinematography is better than it has any right to be. There are some truly fantastic compositions and atmospheric lighting for the discerning cinephile and then there's a scantily clad Polish babe for the rest of us. The acting is hammy enough to remind us it is still a crazy yet inventive caricature we're watching. The protagonist with his cold, deadpan demeanor on the other hand looks like he lost his way to a Kaurismaki set.