Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Test pilota Pirxa

Pilot Pirxʼs Inquest

Der Test des Piloten Pirx

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Commander Pirx is charged with a test flight around Saturn to test new automatic probes for passing through the Cassini Division. Behind the ostensible goal, however, there is another, more sensitive mission. Only some of the five-person crew are human; the others are robots. The true goal is to evaluate whether the androids might soon be capable of replacing their human colleagues on spaceflights. Pirx only realises how volatile the situation is when he narrowly escapes an attempt on his life. During manoeuvres around Saturn, one of the robots causes a near disaster, but after returning to Earth, it is Pirx who faces a legal inquiry ... With unofficial product placement for Pan Am, Lee and McDonald’s, this Polish-Soviet film adaptation of Stanislaw Lem is clearly meant to be set in the Western hemisphere – because only in a capitalist society would the use of humanoid machines to replace human labour be a threatening scenario. Pirx, the cosmonaut in a denim suit, cannot, however, hide his true nature as a skilled dialectician. At the end of the film, the message that stands is that it is precisely human weaknesses that make the race superior to robots.

Marek Piestrak

Poland / USSR 1979


99 min · Colour · 35 mm


Sergiej Desnitski
Bolesław Abart
Władimir Iwaszow
Aleksandr Kajdanowski
Zbigniew Lesień
Ferdynand Matysik
Igor Przegrodzki
Tonu Saar


Marek Piestrak
Marek Piestrak, based on stories (1968) by Stanisław Lem
Director of Photography
Janusz Pawłowski
Roman Kolski
Arvo Pärt, Eugeniusz Rudnik
Aleksander Gołębiowski
Production Design
Jerzy Śnieżawski, Wiktor Żyłko
Special Effects
Aleksander Pastuchow, Andrzej Skoczylas
Alicja Wasilewska
Maria Maziarz, Aita Levoll
Edward Kłosowicz, Karl Levoll

Produced by

PRF Zespoły Filmowe/Tallinnfilm – wytwórnia filmowa
Polish People's Republic

Copy: Filmoteka Narodowa, Warschau