One of cinema’s earliest feature films about space travel. Adapted from a novel by Russian sci-fi writer Aleksey TolstoiAelita recounts how the Soviet engineer Los, rather in the doghouse with his wife, and a fervent Red Army soldier set off to Mars to found a Soviet Republic in space! But Mars is already inhabited by a strange people, more advanced than the Soviets, and who govern a society that exploits its workers. Aelita, the Queen of Mars, secretly using a telescope to spy on Earth people, has already fallen in love with Los long before he arrives. When she discovers he is coming to Mars, she makes sumptuous preparations. And together they will lead a glorious uprising and liberate the workers! Meanwhile, back in mundane Moscow, everyday comic tales of love, jealously and betrayals continue in parallel to the splendor of life on Mars, with its visually striking Constructivist décor and costumes by Russian avant-garde painter Aleksandra Ekster.
Aelita inspired Fritz Lange’s Metropolis and By Rocket to the Moon, as well as the Flash Gordon serial. Eighty-eight years later, the film still brings in laughs.