Template:Otheruses Template:Infobox Film Aelita (Russian: Аэлита), also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made on Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei Tolstoy's novel of the same name. Mikhail Zharov and Igor Ilyinsky were cast in leading roles.
Though the main focus of the story is the daily lives of a small group of people during the post-war Soviet Union, the enduring importance of the film comes from its early science fiction elements. It primarily tells of a young man, Loss, traveling to Mars in a rocket ship, where he leads a popular uprising against the king, with the support of Queen Aelita who has fallen in love with him after watching him through a telescope. Probably the first full-length movie about space travel, the most notable part of the film remains its remarkable constructivist Martian sets and costumes designed by Aleksandra Ekster. Their influence can be seen in a number of later films, including the Flash Gordon serials and probably Fritz Lang's Metropolis. While very popular at first, the film later fell out of favor with the Soviet government and was thus very difficult to see until after the Cold War.
During the climax of the film, Gusev (the Bolshevik revolutionary soldier) stages a proletarian revolution with Queen Aelita's help. While these scenes may seem propagandistic, in some ways the movie is anti-revolutionary. Both Gusev and Loss escape to Mars because of their dissatisfaction with domestic life; Gusev's wife is over-protective and he longs for revolution, and Los seemingly kills his wife in passionate anger. Furthermore, Aelita allows the revolution to happen only so that she can overthrow the dictatorship that keeps her from ruling. After the army falls under the sway of the revolutionaries, Aelita commands the soldiers to force the worker slaves back underground. Loss kills Aelita to stop her from taking over, seeing her as his wife - he then wakes up, aware that the scenes on Mars were entirely fantasy, and goes home to find that his wife is still alive.
Aelita's manipulation is directly opposed to what she represents to Loss, and serves as a stunning reminder of how revolution can go wrong. The not-so-subtle implications of Aelita's manipulation of the revolution obviously point towards Lenin's own revolution. While Natasha (Loss' wife) is presented as a symbol of communism and the movie has a decidedly pro-communist stance, revolution is carried out by flawed characters, all of whom are opposed to the domestic life the director so lovingly presents. Indeed, Protazanov's film points not to revolution as a tool for growth, but rather rebuilding - the Russian Revolution isn't the backdrop for the film, but rather Lenin's New Economic Policy period of mild capitalism used for rebuilding after World War I.
According to another reading of the film, the character of Aelita represents the forces of the Russian Provisional Government of February to October 1917, or that of the German SPD, both having recently taken the leadership of popular revolutions, but then trying to restrict them by siding with repression and counter-revolution.
- Aelita, a song by Finnish band Cleaning Women, is based on the movie.
- Also Aelita is also the name of one of the Protagonists in the French Animated Series Code Lyoko as Aelita Hopper.
- Aelita formed the basis of Flight to Mars (film) though the revolutionary became a reporter. Marguerite Chapman played "Alita".
- Portuguese band Irmãos Catita have a song named Aelita celebrating the princess' polyandry.
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- "Science Fiction of the Domestic" by Andrew J. Horton
- Multi-language DVD released by RUSCICO