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To the Stars by Hard Ways (Per Aspera Ad Astra)

“What if she was made to kill?”

In 2001, Nikolai Viktorov restored his father’s 1981 film Per Aspera Ad Astra for its 20th anniversary. This version has new special effects and a restored soundtrack, but Viktorov also decided to excise 25 minutes of footage from the film. Apparently, this decision was to tighten everything up a bit but also to remove some of the Soviet ideologies from the story. Whichever version of the film you watch, the ideologies seem relatively light so it seems an odd choice to remove content for a restored version. Regardless, the film makes for an interesting conversation. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Soviet Science Fiction series with Richard Viktorov’s 1981 film To the Stars By Hard Ways.

We talk about the ideologies present in the film and the mild changes in the new version. We look at how the film works and why largely it doesn’t. We chat about the effects and why they work in interesting ways, despite feeling very dated for the age. We discuss some of the performers like Yelena Metyolkina and Vladimir Fyodorov and why they all work so well in this film. And we hit on how this film could’ve worked better for us.

It’s not a completely successful film but certainly an interesting one to watch and discuss. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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