Wednesday, June 14, 2006


the evidence

Yup, that's absolutely true. At least, according to the press kit for The First People On The Moon, which further states:

It can be discussed endlessly if the Americans landed on the Moon or not. But "THE FIRST ON THE MOON" convincingly proves - Russian cosmonauts were the first there.

For the first time ever, the film reveals long suppressed footage of the Soviet space program, detailing how, in the 1930's, during the height of the Stalinist era, they sent the first man to the moon.

Okay, Amerikanski, the film is really a mockumentary [hope I didn't spoil it for you], but a lot of the footage is well faked and the movie is somewhat funny, in a grim Russian sort of way. Also, there is this to consider from the press kit:

The first cosmonauts showed in the film are not people only but a pig, a monkey and others.

Oh, and by the way, even though the Soviets weren't the first to land a man on the moon, they were the first to land an unmanned craft there. Don't believe me? Read about it here.

June 15, Harvard Exit, 9:00pm
June 18, Harvard Exit, 7:30pm


  1. I raced out of the Neptune after the Q & A that followed Walking to Werner and made the 9pm screening of The First People on the Moon at the Harvard Exit. I wish now I had hung out and spent some time chatting with Linas Phillips instead.
    I built every space model from Mercury through Apollo when I was a kid. I read every word on the space race in National Geographic. I can even remember staying up all night a few years back to watch Story Musgrave's EVA live when they went up to repair the Hubble. My wife thought I was insane, but this stuff fascinates me! This film popped up on my radar (Its all Steven's fault!) and I saw I could work it in. The theater was a virtual sellout. I arrived late and sat in the back. I saw at least seven or eight walkouts. This film was so stupefyingly dull and unconvincing I can't even find the motivation to write a thorough slam. There isn't even a thread of sense to it! What a bore!

  2. I think I built all those model rocket kits as well, though I preferred the sci-fi ones like the Moonbus from 2001 and the Solaris kit from Revell.
    Sorry you rushed out of the Linas Phillips film to see First People on The Moon. You're gonna hate me even more when I tell you that I didn't really love the film, but I did like it. I thought it was a bit slow too, but watched it as a screener so the pacing didn't bother me as much. Mostly, I liked it for its satirical take on Soviet history, which often reflected things which are very truthful.
    As for any missed opportunities with Linas. Call him and ask for an interview and then post it here.

  3. I'm sure I'll run into Linas Phillips again.
    As far as the screener thing is concerned, this opens an even bigger can of worms with regard to viewing context.

  4. Revell had a Solaris kit? Not the Tarkovsky Solaris? If so, it must be the only art film/toy tie"n in history...Well, I guess 2001 could be considered an art-film.
    I preferred Aurora model kits, because they were very easy. I did the UFO from The Invaders and all the monsters from Universal Pictures.

  5. Oh, and I rather enjoyed First on the Moon. It had a very melancholy feel to it--an "oh what could have been" longing for a chance to start over and do it right. I don't think I laughed once, but I was frequently smiling, and was never bored. It functions as parody, but there's something deeper going on. Maybe the filmmakers aren't even aware of it.
    Also, the music often reminded me of the score to Guy Maddin's The Heart of the World, which makes me realize that Maddin's score is probably a direct lift from Prokofiev or something, and, as with this movie, I'm not quite hep enough to get it all.

  6. The Revell Solaris kit had nothing to do with the Tarkovsky film or any other movie, but was a really cool multi-stage rocket with lots of moving parts and details. They also had a kit called 'Space Pursuit' that consisted of two separate rockets, a pirate and a police ship. The boxes for the kits had Roy Lichtenstein inspired pop-art graphics. They were, by far, the coolest things Revell ever put on the market.
    On the whole, I think you described First People on The Moon better than I did. For a comedy it's fairly melancholy, but then, it is about Stalinist Russia, not exactly the cheeriest place.
    [Mike edit: ebay listing for the solaris kit -
    I haven't seen Heart of The World but Maddin does typically use classical music that's representative of the period he's covering, so I'm sure he delved into the same Russian composers.