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Cosmic Voyage

Cosmic Voyage

Director:Vasili Zhuravlyov
Cast:Sergei Komarov, K. Moskalenko, Vassili Gaponenko, Nikolai Feoktistov, Vasili Kovrigin
Release Date:1936
Genre:Foreign, Science fiction, Silent

At the Charles Theatre Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 27 at 9 p.m.

By Lee Gardner | Posted 9/19/2007

In 1936, airplanes were just coming into their own and rocket science still awaited the terrible advances World War II would bring, but Russian director Vasili Zhuravlyov was limning a future that wouldn’t come to pass for another 30 years. In this recently unearthed silent movie, the denizens of a slightly futuristic Soviet city mount a mission to the moon, land on the lifeless satellite, and, after a few minor adventures and close calls, return home by parachute in triumph. Propaganda it may be, but it’s visionary stuff: Using detailed miniatures, stop-motion animation, wall-to-wall quaintly futuristic design, and some very ambitious camerawork, Zhuravlyov creates a convincingly huge-seeming ramp-launched silver rocket that carries a crew of proto-cosmonauts to the moon, where they bounce like gymnasts in the zero gravity and beam a signal toward their comrades on Earth--a tiny CCCP, flashing like a diner’s neon sign. The visuals are the main appeal here, but Zhuravlyov cast great faces as well, especially the expressive K. Moskalenko as a cutie-pie professor/woman of action.

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