Berlinale: Programme

Film file



A Trip to Mars

Das Himmelsschiff

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Avanti Planetaros, previously a captain of the seven seas, sets out for Mars in a spaceship built by his astronomer father. The journey is not without its troubles – the American ‘astronaut’ David Dane turns to alcohol and there is the threat of mutiny. Arriving on Mars, the crew of the “Excelsior” meets a highly-developed society of pacifists and vegetarians; these Martians even forgive the earthlings a rash use of firearms. Avanti Planetaros finds his “soul mate” in the person of Marya, daughter of the wise ruling elder. She accompanies him on the journey home in order to help humanity return to reason … The film delivered a message of peace during World War I. Probably inspired by a utopian novel by Albert Daiber (“Die Weltensegler”, Sailors Among Worlds, 1910), Himmelskibet paints a picture of The Other as the ideal of an enlightened, spiritually and morally superior society. Then modern technical achievements in cinematography and aviation meet Hellenic robes and floral Art Nouveau shapes. That is one of the reasons why this early “blockbuster”, which played a significant role in the cultural historiography of Aby Warburg (1866 – 1929), can clearly be considered one of the “spring flowers” of the genre.


Denmark 1918

Danish intertitles, English intertitles

81’ · Black/White · 35 mm

Digitally restored version 2006


Nicolai Neiiendam
Gunnar Tolnæs
Zanny Petersen
Alf Blütecher
Svend Kornbeck
Philip Bech
Lilly Jacobsson
Frederik Jacobsen


Sophus Michaëlis, Ole Olsen
Louis Larsen, Frederik Fuglsang
Art Director
Carlo Jacobsen, Axel Bruun
Ole Olsen

Produced by

Nordisk Films Kompagni

Copy: Danish Film Institute, Kopenhagen