Artikelnummer 488
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AELITA (1924) *with English intertitles*

Yakov Protazanov, Yuliya Solntseva, Igor Ilyinsky and Nikolai Tsereteli
$13.99

Действие фильма начинается в декабре 1921 года в Петрограде, вскоре после окончания Гражданской войны и начала НЭПа. Страна лежит в разрухе, города полны голодающими людьми. Инженеры Лось и Спиридонов (обоих играет Николай Церетелли) получают таинственный радиосигнал «АНТА ... ОДЭЛИ… УТА…» и пытаются разгадать его смысл. Разыгравшееся воображение Лося рисует ему картины марсианской цивилизации.Инженер Лось на крыше первого Храма Христа Спасителя. «Управляющий энергией» Марса Гор (Юрий Завадский) изобретает машину, позволяющую наблюдать за жизнью землян. Правитель Тускуб (Константин Эггерт) запрещает ему кому бы то ни было сообщать об этом. Но королева Марса Аэлита (Юлия Солнцева) узнаёт о машине и просит Гора показать ей Землю. В числе прочих картин она видит Лося, который целуется со своей женой Наташей. Аэлита хочет больше узнать о жизни землян, а главное — лучше её почувствовать. Хотя Аэлита — королева, но она лишь «царствует», а на самом деле правит Марсом совет «Старших» во главе с Тускубом. Рабочие Марса находятся на положении рабов, ненужную рабочую силу складируют в холодильниках и при необходимости размораживают.

Aelita also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Sovietfilmmaker Yakov Protazanov made on Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924.  It was based on Alexei Tolstoy's novel of the same name. Mikhail Zharov and Igor Ilyinsky were cast in leading roles.

Though the main focus of the story is the daily lives of a small group of people living in the post-Civil War Soviet Union, the enduring importance of the film comes from its early science fiction elements.  It primarily tells of a young man, Los, traveling to Mars in a rocket ship, where he leads a popular uprising against the ruling group of Elders, with the support of Queen Aelita who has fallen in love with him after watching him through a telescope.

Probably the first full-length movie about space travel, the most notable part of the film remains its remarkable constructivist Martian sets and costumes designed by Aleksandra Ekster.  Their influence can be seen in a number of later films, including the Flash Gordon serials and probablyFritz Lang's Metropolis. Parts of the plot were also loosely adapted for the 1951 film Flight to Mars.

While very popular at first, the film later fell out of favor with the Soviet government and was thus very difficult to see until after the Cold War.

During the climax of the film, Gusev (the Bolshevik revolutionary soldier) stages a proletarianrevolution with Queen Aelita's help.  While these scenes may seem propagandistic, in some ways the movie is anti-revolutionary.  Both Gusev and Los escape to Mars because of their dissatisfaction with domestic life; Gusev's wife is over-protective and he longs for revolution, and Los seemingly kills his wife in passionate anger.  Furthermore, Aelita allows the revolution to happen only so that she can overthrow the dictatorship that keeps her from ruling. After the army falls under the sway of the revolutionaries, Aelita commands the soldiers to force the worker slaves back underground.  Los kills Aelita to stop her from taking over, seeing her as his wife - he then wakes up, aware that the scenes on Mars were entirely fantasy, and goes home to find that his wife is still alive.

Aelita's manipulation is directly opposed to what she represents to Los, and serves as a stunning reminder of how revolution can go wrong. The not-so-subtle implications of Aelita's manipulation of the revolution obviously point towards Lenin's own revolution.  While Natasha (Los's wife) is presented as a symbol of communism and the movie has a decidedly pro-communist stance, revolution is carried out by flawed characters, all of whom are opposed to the domestic life the director so lovingly presents.  Indeed, Protazanov's film points not to revolution as a tool for growth, but rather rebuilding - the Russian Revolution isn't the backdrop for the film, but rather Lenin's New Economic Policy period of mild capitalism used for rebuilding after World War I.

According to another reading of the film, the character of Aelita represents the forces of theRussian Provisional Government of February to October 1917, or that of the German SPD, both having recently taken the leadership of popular revolutions, but then trying to restrict them by siding with repression and counter-revolution

DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH HARD-ENCODED ENGLISH INTERTITLES (81 MINS.)
VERY GOOD QUALITY PRINT
 

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