Out of the Present

Film, Documentaries

Time Out says

It could have been called '1991: A Space Odyssey'; in fact, that would have highlighted one of the fascinating features of Ujica's odd but engrossing documentary on the MIR Space Station's Ozon mission. The portrait provided here of the cramped, comparatively messy, human-sized reality of space travel makes a striking contrast to the grandeur and galactic sweep of fictionalised accounts familiar from films by Kubrick and others. Ozon took two cosmonauts, pilot Sergei Krikalev and commander Anatoli Artsebarski, and (briefly) British scientist Helen Sharman on a more or less routine mission. It hit the headlines following the aborted Moscow putsch which consigned Gorbachev's Soviet Union to the history books, leaving Krikalev stranded in space for an unprecedented ten months - only, on his return, to have journalists' microphones stuffed in his face for comments on Yeltsin and the new Russia. Krikalev shot 35mm footage with the mission's on-board camera, and to this has been added video link material, amateur film and TV news cuttings. Narrated by Artsebarski, it is edited to run as long as the MIR's earth orbit. Ujica has remarked that a 'comedy of manners' rather than an 'odyssey' is a more appropriate description of his film; and it's true there's a strange aimlessness at play here. Viewing 'earth shattering' events from the perspective of space confers on them an eerie calm: instead, our attention is focused on the almost surreal movements and banal comments of weightless men, prompting philosophical musings on our place in the cosmos. Stranger than fiction.

By: WH


Release details

100 mins

Cast and crew

Andrei Ujica
Andrei Ujica
Anatoli Artsebarski
Sergei Krikalev
Helen Sharman
Viktor Afanasiev
Musa Monarov
Franz Viehböck
Aleksandr Volkov
Toktar Aubakirov
Aleksandr Viktorenko
Aleksandr Kaleri
Klaus-Dietrich Flade
Vladimir Soloviev
Aleksei Leonov
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