6/10
A Communist Manned Spaceship To The Moon
8 February 2013
Since Herr Georges Méliès visited the moon at the beginning of the last century, there have been many attempts to do likewise by other directors who were fascinated by the incredible space travel and bizarre landscapes and creatures that Herr Méliès showed in his masterpiece. However, this was not an easy task at all, as illustrated by the story of Herr Vasili Zhuravlyov who, because of political censorship, endured much frustration and many delays in sending a communist manned spaceship to the moon. He finally was able to make his dream come true in the late year of 1936 under the now extinct Stalinist U.S.S. R.

Such a complicated space travel project is depicted powerfully in "Komicheskiy Reys: Fantasticheskaya Novella" ( "Cosmic Journey" ), a very interesting and inventive sci-fi film with special effects that are very different from those today but are still skillfully done. Herr Zhuravlyov does not let the propaganda background sink his artistic intentions, certainly a task-given the times-that may have been more difficult than actually sending someone to the moon.

Obviously the political background can't be ignored in the film, so there are many communist references in it, the most significant being that the spacecraft that finally lands on the moon is called "Josef Stalin" and of course there is the film's message about the power and accomplishment of technical research in the U.S.S.R. but this is acceptable in terms of the story.

The art direction and space imagery of the film is certainly astounding, including beautiful and imaginative décors and models, suggesting these supposedly futuristic times of the, Ahem… mid 40's of the last century. Especially remarkable is the travelling effect wherein the two U.S.R.R. spacecrafts are shown in detail in the hangar and of course the moon décors, showing a mysterious and deserted planet reminiscent of l Herr Méliès .

The cosmonauts will have an extra and dangerous mission trying to send a radio message to the Earth ( well… it is more correct to say U.S.R.R. ) in order to let them known that finally the spacecraft has landed. There is also a big problem with the oxygen tank but there is a light side too as we see the cosmonauts walking on the moon (via animation), a sequence that gives the film an air of charming fantasy.

"Komicheskiy Reys…" is a very imaginative oeuvre, a remarkable picture full of fantasy and imaginative technical resources, an excellent example of the space race between cinematographers.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must moon around as usual.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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