Russian Scifi

Essay by chonjeeCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Aleksei Fedorchenko's film First on the Moon is a powerful statement of Soviet ideology, interplaying post Soviet concepts and the politics of mockumentaries to elucidate the paradox of the film's representation of the Space Race mythology and the opposing post communist nostalgia for the ideal Soviet past. By blurring the lines between fact and fiction, the film delves into a realm of mourning-a mourning for what could have been and of Russia's deviance from Stalinist mentality. However, through the same modality the film satirizes Russia's totalitarianism and the faults of its regime. Through meticulous use of event validation and portrayal of science used in the Soviet era, First on the Moon displays an interpretation of two dimensions: the criticism of the Soviet Union's mass deception and the nostalgia of Soviet prosperity.

Soviet ideologies are rooted in the collectivist mindset, pushing that the advancement of the whole always takes precedence over individualistic agendas.

In the interpretation of the film as a nostalgic work, the characters play the role of de-individualized members of a larger movement in Russia's Space Race, completely compliant and ready to serve their mission for their country. Fedorchenko's strongest procommunist statement comes from the glorification and normalization of such extreme nationalistic mindsets, exemplified in the astronauts' unquestionable willingness to participate in the space program despite their desolate chances of survival. Even their constant surveillance is depicted with an aura of absolutism and necessity, as it provides the basis that anything recorded is evidence of its factuality. The immensity of Soviet Russia's propaganda and its questionable realities provide a paradoxical but effective means of confusing the most outlandish conspiracy with truth and the truth with illusion.

The film's deliberate blurring of reality and fiction in Russian history illuminates a post-Soviet nostalgia for the idealized Soviet past. Throughout the...