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Aelita: Queen of Mars
August 17 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Silent Summer Film Festival Event
Sound effects artist Nick White will demonstrate his world-class collection of 1920’s sound effects and perform with organist Jay Warren for both Saturday screenings!
Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924)
Starring: Nikolai Tseretelli • Valentina Kuindji • Yulia Solntseva
Aelita, also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made at the Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel of the same name. Nikolai Tseretelli and Valentina Kuindzhi 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, Los (Russian: Лось, literally Moose), traveling to Mars in a rocket ship, where he leads a popular uprising against the ruling group of Elders, with the support of Queen Aelita who has fallen in love with him after watching him through a telescope. In its performances in the cinemas in Leningrad, Dmitri Shostakovich played on the piano the music he provided for the film.
In the United States, Aelita was edited and titled by Benjamin De Casseres for release in 1929 as Aelita: Revolt of the Robots.
PLUS Georges Melies’ “A Trip to The Moon” (1902)
A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la Lune) is a 1902 French adventure film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide variety of sources, including Jules Verne’s novels From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon. It features an ensemble cast of French theatrical performers, led by Méliès himself in the main role of Professor Barbenfouillis, and is filmed in the overtly theatrical style for which Méliès became famous.
The film was an internationally popular success on its release, and was extensively pirated by other studios, especially in the United States. Its unusual length, lavish production values, innovative special effects, and emphasis on storytelling were markedly influential on other film-makers and ultimately on the development of narrative film as a whole.
Though the film disappeared into obscurity after Méliès’s retirement from the film industry, it was rediscovered around 1930, when Méliès’s importance to the history of cinema was beginning to be recognized by film devotees. An original hand-colored print was discovered in 1993 and restored in 2011.
A Trip to the Moon was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice, ranked 84th. The film remains the best-known of the hundreds of films made by Méliès, and the moment in which the capsule lands in the Moon’s eye remains one of the most iconic and frequently referenced images in the history of cinema. It is widely regarded as the earliest example of the science fiction film genre and, more generally, as one of the most influential films in cinema history.
- SFSC Members and Guests: $8
- $12 Advance Sale
- $15 at the door on day of show