Kamis, 02 Juni 2011
Richard Viktorov - Cherez ternii k zvyozdam AKA To the Stars by Hard Ways (20th anniversary edition) (1981)
Plot Synopsis by Dan Pavlides
This two-part science fiction saga begins with the android Niya (Yelena Metelkina) being discovered in a discarded spacecraft by a spaceship from Earth. She is brought back for scientific research and it is learned she is from the dying planet Dessa which has been polluted by the inhabitants. Part two finds Niya returning to Dessa in an attempt to save the people from extinction. Over 20 million fans saw this feature in the Soviet Union, the last film by noted science fiction director Richard Viktorov. It was first released in 1981 and awarded a USSR state prize the following year.
IMDB Review wrote:
Hard to comment, 25 May 2005
Author: Efenstor from Krasnoyarsk, Russia
It's hard to comment this movie for the non-Russian auditory but I'll try to explain everything.
As far as I see nearly no one here knows the reasons why all the Soviet sci-fi had poor special effects. The reason is simple: in Soviet Union were NO commercial movie industry at all. Movie makers were making their movies and had month pays for their work. When they began making a new movie they showed the screenplay to the ministry of culture and if the ministry accepted it it allotted them some money from the state budget. Any sci-fi had never been that politically correct in comparison to war or revolution movies and thus the budget of such movies was ALWAYS very small. You can understand how much devotion to the work and art was needed to make such films in such conditions. This is the reason why soviet sci-fi movie makers always tried to put into their movies the things that were not dependent on budget. They put ideas. Soviet way of life and way of thinking was much enclosed in itself and developed enclosed. Influence of western culture was rather subtle because all the borders were closed. Contraband products were rare and highly illegal. No one have seen any of the non-Soviet sci-fi movies until the very end of 80's.
"Cherez ternii k zvyozdam" ("Per aspera ad astra" is the correct translation) have one of the best special effects ever made in the Soviet Union, seriously. So ignore them, they are not the central piece of the movie. The central piece is the ideas, the characters and the acting. The visions of the ecological catastrophe were rather fresh in 1981 for the whole world, the more in the Soviet Union where government always told everyone that the future is bright. According to the screenplay there should have been the ending title saying "All the scenes of the dying planet Dessa were shot at the territory of the Soviet Union". No need to say that that title was censored out (now it was added in the new re-edited DVD version).
I see that many of those who have seen "Cherez ternii k zvyozdam" misunderstand its plot. It's very strange because the plot is clear and straightforward, possibly it's all because of the poor translation. In fact only the concluding scene may be found somewhat strange because it has purely allegoric meaning: creation of the new life.
All acting is nearly perfect, no need to describe it, especially amazing are the roles of the economical tyrant Turanchox by Vladimir Fyodorov, Ambassador Rakan by Vadim Ledogorov and of course, Niya the Artificial Human by Yelena Metyolkina.
9 of 10. Find a well-translated version, turn on your brain and you'll understand why I rated it so.
Excellent movie, the best of russian/soviet sci-fi, 23 April 2003
Author: (email@example.com) from Moscow, Russia
This movie belongs to the russian/soviet culture - this is the reason why so many negative comments are manifested here on IMDB. Besides, the Americanized version ("Humanoid Woman") was cropped and too much spoiled by nasty dubbing, that the whole film's concept has shifted. HOW COULD ONE SAY HERE: "there are some treasure hunters who want to use her at the archaeological dig, so they can become rich and famous"?!! There is nothing like that AT ALL!! And so on about other "comments" available here. The film has a very intelligent plot, written by the famous russian SF writer Kir Bulichev. The director's work is excellent. For example Niya's character is played by non-professional actress Elena Metyolkina, who actually was a model. It was the director's design just to introduce some elements of robot-like behavior. The director managed to make her play as good as possible. All other actors play their characters very persuadingly also. I just wonder how can one abuse the music - it is superb. Of course there should be correction for poor picture and sound quality, presented on the Americanized version. But this film deserves to be watched in its original version and with the TRUE dubbing - JUST TO UNDERSTAND IT. BTW now its remastered version on DVD exists, with both picture and sound quality being superb.
Summing up I want to say this film is not a cheap entertainment as some comments here suggest. It is a very kind, heartful, gentle, touching and thought-provoking movie. It is about love - love to people, love to the Earth. Of course there is certain naivity about the film, but it only adds positive to its atmosphere. I see everything quite balanced in it. Some may see flaws in film's imperfect setting (compared with "Alien" or "Star Wars" for example)- of course Holliwood was much more advanced in Sci-fi making (and a lot richer besides), than the Soviet cinema. But that does not seem too important.
http://www.filesonic.com/file/1028099901/To the Stars by Hard Ways (1981).avi
http://www.filesonic.com/file/1028051291/To the Stars by Hard Ways (1981).srt