[ REVIEW ]

 

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Aelita : Queen of Mars (1924)
 (˹ѧº บรรยายอังกฤษ)

äҹҴٵç : ١¡ "˹ѧͧáͧµ" зçԷԾŵ˹ѧؤҧҡ¢ͧAlexei Tolstoyվ㹻1923

˹˹ѧǡѺͧǡȷشͧš 觷ⴴ蹷ش
繷訴ӡ ҡҤõҧ溹ѧ ͼҷ͡Ẻ Aleksandra Ekster ͡ѹԷԾŵ˹ѧͧѧؤ ҧ the Flash Gordon Metropolis ͧ Fritz Lang Woman in the Moon

 

 
 

Director:Yakov Protazanov Written by:Fedor Ozep, Aleksei Fajko based on Alexei Tolstoy''s novel of the same name Cinematography:Emil Schünemann, Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky  Running time:113 min Country:Soviet Union

Language:Silent film Two Musical Scores Genre:Adventure, Drama, Fantasy Subtitle:English intertitles

 

  Starring:Yuliya Solntseva ... Aelita, Queen of Mars
Igor Ilyinsky ... Kravtsov - amateur sleuth
Nikolai Tsereteli ... Engineer Los / Spiridinov
Nikolai Batalov ... Gusev, Red Army Soldier
Vera Orlova ... Nurse Masha
Valentina Kuindzhi ... Natasha, Los'' Wife (as Vera Kuindzhi)
Pavel Pol ... Viktor Ehrlich, Sugar Profiteer
Konstantin Eggert ... Tuskub, Ruler of Mars
Yuri Zavadsky ... Gol, Radiant Energy Tower Guardian
Aleksandra Peregonets ... Ihoshka, Aelita''s Maidservant
Sofya Levitina
Varvara Massalitinova
Mikhail Zharov
Tamara Adelgeym
Iosif Tolchanov ... Mars Astronomer with Ihoshka
Vladimir Uralsky
N. Tretyakova ... Yelena, Ehrlich''s Wife
Galina Kravchenko ... Cameo (uncredited)

Storyline:
This is called the first Soviet science fiction film because of its "futuristic" sets on Mars, although most of it takes place in Moscow. The movie is set at the beginning of the NEP (New Economic Policy) in December, 1921. A mysterious radio message is beamed around the world, and among the engineers who receive it are Los, the hero, and his colleague Spiridonov. Los is an individualist dreamer. Aelita is the daughter of Tuskub, the ruler of a totalitarian state on Mars in which the working classe are put into cold storage when they are not needed. With a telescope, Aelita is able to watch Los. As if by telepathy, Los obsesses about being watched by her. After some hugger-mugger involving the murder of his wife and a pursuing detective, Los takes the identity of Spiridonov and builds a spaceship. With the revolutionary Gusev, he travels to Mars, but the Earthlings and Aelita are thrown into prison by the dictator. Gusev and Los begin a proletarian uprising, and Aelita offers to lead the revolution, but she then establishes her own totalitarian regime. Los is shocked by this development and attempts to stop Aelita, and then reality and fantasy become confused, and Los discovers what has really happened.

 

Aelita (Russian: Аэли́та, pronounced [aɛˈlʲita]), also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made at the 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 during the post-war Soviet Union, the enduring importance of the film comes from its early science fiction elements. It primarily tells of a young man, Los (Russian: Лось, literally Elk), 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. In its performances in the cinemas in Leningrad, Dmitri Shostakovich played on the piano the music he provided for the film.

 

Influences:
One of the earliest full-length films 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 probably Fritz Lang''s Metropolis and Woman in the Moon.

Parts of the plot were 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.
 


Special Features:
- Restored Image preserving the original greyscales and brand ew intertitles
- New Soundtrack: ''Broken Glass'' Featuring music by composer Philip Glass remixed by Wally Danger in 2.0 and 5.1
- Original Ruscico Soundtrack in 5.1

   

Review:
Yakov Protazanovs 1924 film, Aelita, begins in December of 1921 with the worldwide transmission of a cryptic message. An iris revealing a set of powerlines is followed by a quick cut to an image of an electric current dancing between two wires. The next sequence reveals scientists and military men in different regions of the world the Far East, the Middle East, and finally Russia analysing a transmission that reads: Anta Odeli Uta. This scene, which serves as a prologue to the larger film, combines images of high-speed technology with foreign views to create an atmosphere of mystery and anticipation. As the narrative progresses, Engineer Los (Nikolai Tsereteli) the films hero will become increasingly obsessed with decoding the meaning of the message, which he believes to originate from Mars.

Beginning on 19 September 1924, real-life residents of Moscow began receiving the same message through the Pravda newspaper. Around the same time, Kinogazeta ran a notice reading: The signals that are being received constantly by radio stations around the world Anta Odeli Uta have at last been deciphered! What do they mean? You will find out on 30 September at the Ars Cinema. The lavish marketing campaign launched by Mezrabpom-Rus Studio in support of Aelita involved high-concept publicity stunts and an extravagant premiere gala for which the Ars Cinema was decorated in the manner of the Constructivist, Egypto-cubist Martian Palace designed for the film by Aleksandra Ekster and Isaak Rabinovich.

An oft-recounted anecdote has it that the premiere was so overrun with moviegoers clamouring for tickets that Protazanov himself was unable to gain entrance. The extent of Aelitas popular success was nearly equivalent to that of its critical failure. No other film of early Soviet cinema was attacked as consistently or over so long a period as Aelita. From 1924 to 1928, it was a regular target for film critics and for the many social activists who felt that the film industry was not supporting Soviet interests. The polarised reception that greeted Aelita is strangely fitting, insofar as the film itself is fraught with contrasts and dichotomies.

While it is most widely remembered for being the first Russian science fiction film, Aelita is perhaps more interesting today as a document of the tumultuous period following the implementation of Lenins New Economic Program (NEP) and as an example of the popular Soviet cinema of the 1920s. The NEP, introduced in early 1921, ushered in a brief period of relative economic and social liberalism, which allowed for high-profile film productions like Aelita, and provoked both Bolshevik outrage and pre-revolutionary nostalgia. It also gave rise to a class of NEPmen who took advantage of official positions within the Soviet hierarchy to bribe and steal their way into secret fortunes.

Early on in Aelitas narrative we are introduced to NEPman Victor Erlich (Pavel Pol), who uses his connections with the housing authority to requisition a room in the house Los shares with his wife Natasha (Valentina Kuindzhi). In one of the films most memorable sequences, Natasha accompanies Erlich to a secret high-society ball. The attendees arrive bundled up in hats, scarves, and long, drab coats, but once they enter the hall they gleefully cast them off to reveal chic 1920s hairdos and elegant evening clothes. Set against the elegant European-style ball scene, and the abstract Martian settings, the films documentary-style footage of contemporary Moscow is surprising and instructive. In one sequence, Los wanders through streets lined by waist-high piles of blowing snow. After Natashas checkpoint closes, she takes a job managing an orphanage, where we are privy to rows of infants tied into straight-backed chairs.

Increasingly suspicious of Erlichs developing relationship with Natasha, Los retreats into his Mars fixation, even drawing up plans for a rocket that will take him into outer space. Meanwhile on Mars, Gol (Yuri Zavadsky) has designed a telescope, which looks like a mobile by Alexander Calder that will allow the Martians to observe life on nearby planets. A cut from Gol operating the machine reveals full screen images of: a busy city street at dusk; men riding camels in the desert; and military gunships. This sequence makes interesting use of the famous Kuleshov effect; shots of Aelita and Gol looking are intercut with images of exotic places. Essentially, it functions as a metaphor for new medium of cinema, which also shows us life in distant places even Mars! Taking charge of the telescope, Aelita focuses in on an image of Los kissing Natasha. Aelita asks Gol to kiss her, like they do on earth. Suffused with a kind of frothy eroticism, the scenes on Mars are introduced as a projection of Los imagination and desire it is unclear whether they are also to be taken as having an objective existence of their own.

Nearly driven mad by his growing suspicion of Natashas infidelity, Los confronts her with a gun. Fearing he has killed her, Los flees and begins to make plans for his trip to Mars. At this point, we are introduced to Kratsov (Igor Ilyinsky), the amateur detective who hopes to solve Natashas murder, and inadvertently stows away on the rocket along with Los and Comrade Gussev (Nikolai Batalov), a Bolshevik soldier home from the front. To the already heady mixture of technological/erotic fantasy and domestic melodrama, the Kratsov character adds a note of broad physical comedy. When the ship arrives on Mars, Aelita and Los finally share a kiss, while Gussev delivers a speech to the Martian workers kept prisoner underground. His worlds are illustrated with a sequence of allegorical inserts: a chained man; a flaming torch; and October 25, 1917 written in fire. Having created, a Martian Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the workers smash through the bars surrounding the underground city and storm the palace. As the workers are celebrating their victory Aelita betrays them, ordering the army to open fire. Her actions uphold Comrade Gussevs belief that members of the ruling class cannot be trusted (as well as Los suspicions regarding the duplicitous nature of women). As Los and Aelita struggle atop of a staircase, he sees her transformed into Natasha, before pushing her to her death.

The next cut reveals a close-up of the Martian message, inscribed on a poster that reads: The only tyres worth your money are Anta Odeli Uta. In an amusing convergence of art and life, the message from Mars turns out to be a publicity stunt. Los wakes from his trance and returns home to find Natasha alive and well. He vows to put aside his dreams of space travel and devote himself to creating a communist reality. In identifying the space voyage (and perhaps the whole Martian narrative) as Los fantasy, Protazanovs film departs from the original story by Aleksei Tolstoy.

 

Contemporary critics argued that the use of the dream device, which Protazanov employed frequently in his films, in combination with the melodramatic adultery/murder plot, robbed the Martian communist revolution of its ideological significance. While Aelita does uphold basic Soviet values, it seems ultimately to privilege the more moderate goal of reconstruction both national and romantic over the dream of universal revolution. In this way, whether valorised or vilified, Aelita stands as a revealing embodiment of the aspiration and uncertainty that characterised Soviet life in the early 1920s.
Sense of Cinema

 



 





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