Science-fiction - Completed 2005

Russian mockumentary about a 1930s Soviet landing on the Moon. The film is not related to the actual Soviet Moonsoot program.

    • Year of production
    • 2005
    • Genres
    • Science-fiction
    • Countries
    • RUSSIA
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 75 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Aleksey FEDORCHENKO
    • Writer(s)
    • Aleksandr GONOROVSKIY, Ramil YAMALEYEV
    • Producer(s)
    • Aleksey FEDORCHENKO (Sverdlovsk Film Studio and Film Company Strana), Dmitry VOROBYOV (Sverdlovsk Film Studio and Film Company Strana)
    • Synopsis
    • A group of journalists are investigating a highly secret document when they uncover a sensational story: that even before the Second World War, in 1938, the first rocket was made in the USSR and Soviet scientists were planning to send an orbiter to the moon and back. The evidence is convincing; it is clear that in this case, Soviet cosmonauts were first.
      The movie follows the selection and training of a small group of cosmonauts. The one who shines above the others (similar to the clear front-runners in the early historical Soviet space program) is Captain Ivan Sergeyevich Kharlamov (spelled Harlamov in the subtitles, and possibly a reference to the real-life cosmonaut Valentin Varlamov). He is helped into a space suit and loaded into the capsule, and the rocket lifts off for the Moon—but contact with it is soon lost.
      Most of the remainder of the film seems to follow the search for information about what happened next, as the 1930s space program appears to have dissolved immediately after, with no reason given (but presumably as a part of Stalin's purges). It is implied that Kharlamov returned to Earth, but with no fanfare and apparently no assistance from the space program. A number of men are shown as suspected of being Kharlamov—the NKVD seems to be conducting a criminal investigation of the program and it is implied that those involved, including Kharlamov himself, are in hiding.
      It seems that the capsule returned to Earth and landed in Chile, and that Kharlamov journeyed to the Soviet Far East by way of Polynesia and China, yet feared capture on his return. His wife apparently covered for him when interrogated as to his whereabouts. The narrator never ties the story together coherently, however; the interviews and footage are shown without supporting commentary, in a (non)narration style reminiscent of an actual documentary of the Soviet lunar program, The Red Stuff.[1]
      The very end of the movie shows the only footage of the mission itself after launch, explaining it as a film which was found at the Chilean landing site and is currently in the possession of "the Natural museum in the town of Antafagasta". First there is a brief clip showing Kharlamov piloting the vehicle, presumably on final approach to the Moon. Following that is an equally brief panorama of a lunar landscape with the capsule or lander (it's unclear whether this was a direct ascent Moon landing) resting on the surface, apparently taken by Kharlamov during lunar EVA. Both scenes are shown as stills on the movie's cover. Then there is a short clip of the other cosmonauts walking through a hangar with the 1930s space program director, and the credits roll.