Still Watching the Skies: Episode 58 “Aelita: Queen of Mars”
Robert, Nat, and Cody are joined by Angela Fabbrini of Cabin in the Woods as we take a look at 1924’s AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS. A film emblematic of the hopes and dreams of the fledgling Soviet Union. As a bonus, we also talk about HBO’s current CHERNOBYL mini-series which is emblematic of the dashed dreams of the Soviet Union near the end.
Set circa 1921 in the aftermath of the revolution, AELITA; QUEEN OF MARS tells the tale of Los, an engineer obsessed with building a rocket to Mars. Los is plagued by pangs of jealousy as his wife becomes the target of a no good bourgeois elite. What’s a man to do but to flee to Mars?
Once on Mars, Los discovers that Earth men are apparently inherently attractive to alien queens. Alien queens who may or may not have three breasts. But, the workers’ revolution must take precedence as the Earth men stir up a revolt against the ruling elite. But, can Aelita be trusted?
AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS is a time capsule of the hopes and dreams of Lenin’s Soviet Union. It spends a surprising amount of time engrossed in its domestic drama, so that the science fiction elements take a back seat. But, with its extravagant sets and prelude to METROPOLIS, not to mention its montage editing, there’s a lot to discuss.
In marked contrast to the hopes and dreams of AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS, we also spend some time with the grim realities of CHERNOBYL. It’s a mini-series that celebrates the humanity of Russians, while also serving as a sharp critique of the State that oppresses them and hides the truth from them. And, it has some of the most horrific imagery ever captured.
You’re not going to need to stage a glorious workers’ revolution to hear this episode. You can give us a play below or Download the episode. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below or Email Us at [email protected] as we appreciate feedback.
AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS Discussion: 0:00 to 48:56
CHERNOBYL Discussion: 48:56 to 1:03:04
Next Film and Outro: 1:03:04 to End
Next month, we’re going to fire up the interociter to bring you THIS ISLAND EARTH. Perhaps it’s not the pure masterpiece of the best of 1950s science fiction, but surely it’s one of the most emblematic of the period. We hope you’ll join us.