Flying palaces and dueling aliens star in a Berlinale space trip

February 19, 2024 4:19 pm

[Source: Reuters]

In a sleepy fishing village in northern France two groups of extraterrastials descend from space in human form to wage war over the future of humanity in French director Bruno Dumont’s new sci-fi film “The Empire”.

The film, which premieres on Sunday at the Berlin Film Festival, is one of 20 movies competing for the festival’s Golden Bear prize.

It casts Romanian-French actress Anamaria Vartolomei as the leader of the good aliens, pitted against evil aliens led by newcomer Brandon Vlieghe in a light-hearted space opera.

Article continues after advertisement

The two groups descend from space where the evil aliens live aboard a flying neo-Classical palace to the strains of Bach playing in the background, while the good aliens lurk aboard a version of Paris’s Gothic-style Sainte Chapelle chapel that flits among the stars.

“I love space opera,” Dumont told reporters. “It’s a fascinating way to address complex topics like the origins of the world and the meaning of time. But I wanted to remain within the earthly realm that I’m used to.”

Things go awry for the two alien races when they bring their dispute to earth: with human form comes human frailty, and the pitfall of love.

When two enemies fall in love, something new emerges.

“She was an action hero at the beginning,” Vartolomei said of her sabre-weilding character Jane. “But later she becomes a woman tortured by her feelings.”