ANDROMEDA NEBULA (tumannost andromedy) (1967 SOVIET UNION) D/W: YEVGENI SHERSTOBITOV W: DMITRI YEUSKIY
A manned space-flight is trapped by the strong magnetic pull of an "Iron Star". The crew land on the surface and discover other downed spacecraft. They drive a cool land-cruiser, have a robot and encounter a shadow-like entity that can "eat" crew members through their spacesuits, and doesn`t like light. Meanwhile Earth of the future is a peaceful Communist utopia that resembles Ancient Greece! Characters discuss the compression of time, and watch satellite images on a huge screen, including a woman dancing in red silhouette against the backdrop of space, 300 years ago!?! The 66 min (jumpy, faded quality) DVD print i saw (it was originally 77) had very badly translated subtitles, so i may be missing something. There`s also a romantic subplot. Confusing as this was, i really dug the evocative alien planet scenes (real pulp fiction art come to life), and the entire movie is visually very impressive. I also liked the scene of recreational trampolining aboard the spaceship (in the background), and the odd soundtrack of repetitive organ stabs. With Sergei Stolyarov, Vija Artmane, Nikolai Kryukov and Gennadi Yukhtin. It`s based on the 1957 novel by Ivan Efremov (1908-1972), a real-life scientist who developed Taphonomy, a fossilization science in the 1940s. Shot at the Ukrainian Dovzhenko Film Studios, a proposed second part (based on Efremov`s follow-up novel The Bull`s Hour) was never made.

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