Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
Made by two Italian ﬁlmmakers, this artful recollection of the Soviet space programme interweaves archival footage of such mythical beings as Laika the space-travelling dog and handsome Yuri Gagarin with proud reminiscences from surviving veterans of that glorious era. Their nostalgia isn’t unchecked in the ﬁlm’s design: a prankish collector of space age memorabilia – with which this ﬁlm abounds – recalls the teacher who inspired him with a vision of the perfect Communist state due by the year 2000. The American moon landing and the accidental death of Gagarin were to take the heat out of the space race long before then. Although rockets are still launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, it’s clear that many of the veterans feel that their achievements have been consigned to the ﬂea market of history, along with the regime that made them heroes. In 21st-century Moscow, where a jewel-encrusted four-poster bed for a dog is considered newsworthy, an elderly couple who met on the space programme raise a glass to the future. Maybe a new generation will be excited by something more genuinely amazing than bling, as they once were by a dog in space.