Thursday, December 20, 2012

One for the retrofuturists

In 1957 a Russian director named Pavel Klushantsev made a science fiction film called Doroga k Zvezdam, or Road to the Stars. It's amazing. As far as I can tell from my position of not speaking Russian, the film was a kind of fictionalized documentary about the future of human space exploration, much like the 1955 film Man and the Moon directed by Ward Kimball for Walt Disney. Yet Klushantsev went far beyond any other filmmaker of the time in the cinematic ambition and scientific accuracy of his predictions.

All the clips from this film on YouTube are worth watching, but this particular segment includes some of the most striking "no way was this made a decade before 2001: A Space Odyssey" moments. Bear in mind this film was made even before the launch of Sputnik!



I definitely see a lot of stuff in these clips using the same visual motifs and techniques and special effects methods used in 2001, and a few things the later film didn't even try to do. The blatant visual similarities have made some people suspect Stanley Kubrick must have seen Road to the Stars while doing research for his film, but it could also be a case of convergent evolution.

More details and links about Road to the Stars here. And a tip of the hat to John Sisson at Dreams of Space for posting about a Czech children's book on space travel which seems to have been inspired by Klushantsev's visionary film.

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