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first on scene

First on the Moon

For the science fiction novel by Hugh Walters, see First on the Moon (book)

First on the Moon (Первые на Луне, Pervye na lune) is a 2005 Russian mockumentary about a 1930s Russian landing on the Moon. The film, which went on to win many awards, was the debut of the director Aleksey Fedorchenko.

Plot

A group of journalists are investigating a highly secret document when they uncover a sensational story: that even before the Second World War, in 1938, the first rocket was made in the USSR and Soviet scientists were planning to send an orbiter to the moon and back. The evidence is convincing; it is clear that in this case, Russian cosmonauts were first.

The film's story stretches across a broad swath of time (from the Middle Ages to the modern day) and geography (Russia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Polynesia, Chile).

Filming of space training

The cosmonaut space training was filmed in Chelyabinsk, at the Institute of Aviation, where there exists equipment from Star City which even Gagarin used for training. The actors worked without stunt doubles; they were really spinning in centrifuge, despite the fact that this training is difficult even for professionals.

Reaction

When elements of the plot started leaking out, a number of Russian newspapers treated it as a documentary about a real 1938 event, referring to it as the Santiago Meteorite (метеорит "Сантьяго"). In reality, the film is a falsification from beginning to end. To quote the director: "Some type of new genre. It was very difficult to decide on a name. So far, for me this is either historical drama or documentary fantasy." He also said: "Our film is about how the Soviet state machinery manufactured major products - the best people. Fine, strong and clever heroes, then rendered unnecessary to the native land – some have been destroyed, others lost in obscurity, yet others still broken by fear."

There had actually been a Soviet Moonshot at a later period - this emerged after glasnost.

Technical details

In numbers

  • Work on the film took three years
  • The budget was $1 million
  • The rocket built for the film was 80 meters long
  • 1000 people took part in the film

Awards

References

External links

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