Soviet and Post-Soviet Movie Club at the Polonsky Academy
Spring Semester 2019
Of Utopias and Dystopias:
Ten Russian Science Fiction Movies from the 1920s to the Present
By invitation only
If you would like to join the Movie Club, please
contact Dr. Pavel Vasilyev at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aelita: Queen of Mars | 1924 | Iakov Protazanov | 113 minutes
The enduring importance of Aelita, based on Aleksei Tolstoi’s novel of the same name, derives from its early science fiction elements. The film portrays a young man traveling in a rocket ship to Mars, 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.
The pursuit of a technological utopia occupied an important, perhaps even central, space in the Soviet political and ideological imaginary. An epitome of high modernity itself, the Soviet Union pioneered and advanced technocratic solutions in many domains, including Arctic exploration, the nuclear arms race, and the conquest of outer space. This semester, the Soviet and Post-Soviet Club at the Polonsky Academy revisits Russian science fiction movies made between the 1920s and 2010s to explore how they reflected specifically local ideological preoccupations about the future and at the same time posed important ethical questions about the role of technology in the society that are still of great relevance and general interest in our world today.
The screenings will take place at the Polonsky Auditorium on Mondays at 18:00, starting with a brief introduction by Dr. Pavel Vasilyev. All movies will be screened in the Russian original with English subtitles. After each screening, there will be an opportunity for informal discussion.