Left: Franco Berardi.
Right: Still from “Aelita: Queen of Mars” (1924).

The 1924 film Aelita: Queen of Mars, based on the novel by Alexei Tolstoy, is at once a curiosity of post-revolutionary life and silent cinema in the Soviet Union and an enduring testament to the early days of the science fiction film genre. The film tells of the adventure of Los, an engineer living in Moscow, who dreams of Aelita, the Queen of Mars, and builds a spaceship to take him to her, only to be drawn into a proletarian uprising to establish a Martian Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. One of the earliest full-length space-travel films, Aelita is also widely recognized for it’s constructivist inspired Cubist Martian set and costume designs.

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