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Esperanto film

There are two feature films known to have been shot exclusively in the constructed language Esperanto. Both were shot in the 1960s, and both were long thought lost until recent restorations.

The first was the French production Angoroj (Agonies) in 1964, directed by Atelier Mahé. It runs approximately one hour, just shy of feature length, and its story involves murder. After a restoration and home video release (in the PAL format) in Switzerland, the film appears to be once again unavailable. Very little detailed information about Angoroj is available, except that the cast included some proficient Esperantists, including Raymond Schwartz , who was associated with the Esperanto Cabaret in Paris.

The second feature was the 1965 American production Incubus, a low-budget horror film directed by the creator of the television series The Outer Limits. Admired for its stark artistry, Esperantists generally cringe at the actors' poor pronunciation.

A 1987 horror film by Serbian director Goran Markovic titled Vec vidjeno apparently includes both Esperanto and Serbo-Croatian dialogue. Esperanto also makes an appearance in Andrew Niccol's critically admired 1997 science fiction drama Gattaca, where announcements are read in Esperanto and English.

Earlier examples of Esperanto in film consist mainly of old newsreel and documentary footage, some dating back as early as 1911, when the seventh international Esperanto conference was held in Antwerp, Belgium. The funeral of Esperanto creator L. L. Zamenhof in 1917 was filmed. And according some sources, French cinema pioneer Leon Ernest Gaumont wanted to make a film about Esperanto to showcase a sync sound process he had developed, but the project was curtailed by the onset of World War I.

The next direct link between Esperanto and film involves the 1940 film The Great Dictator, written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin: the signs in the shop windows of the ghettoized Jewish population in the film are written in Esperanto. The 1931 Esperanto novel Mr Tot Aĉetas Mil Okulojn, written by Polish author Jean Forge (aka Jean Fethke), was adapted by Fritz Lang as The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse in 1960. (The film was in German, not Esperanto.) Forge also directed films of his own, at least two of which are known to have been Esperanto productions, Morgaŭ Ni Komencos la Vivon (1934) and Verda Stelo Super Varsovio (1959). It is unknown if either film survives.

In the British science fiction comedy Red Dwarf (which first began in 1988), the signs in the corridors are all written in both English and Esperanto, and the characters occasionally speak in Esperanto. Similarly, the movie Blade: Trinity is set in a generic city which writer/director David Goyer nevertheless wanted to represent as bilingual (as many cities are worldwide), so the second language spoken in this nameless city, and visible on most of its signage, is Esperanto.

In the Spanish film El Coche de Pedales 2004, one of the main characters is a teacher of Esperanto. There are some scenes in which he greets people with "Saluton" or "Dankon", and a scene of one of his lectures, in which he reads a tale in Esperanto.

In the Japanese anime film Night on the Galatic Railroad (based on the novel by Miyazawa Kenji), all the signs are written in Esperanto, possibly to reflect the distinct but unspecific European ambience of the town and also as a tribute to Miyazawa's interest in the language.

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