Aelita and The Devil's Wheel

“In the aftermath of the Civil War, and with new solvency achieved through NEP economic experiments, the Soviet film industry was prepared, in 1924, to undertake a production that would rival the foreign films that were arriving in Moscow in the '20s. The film artists collective, Russ, decided to film Alexei Tolstoy's story of three Russians - an engineer, a Red Army soldier, and a detective - who fly to Mars and become involved in a revolutionary uprising among the Martian people: while there, one of them - the engineer - has a love affair with Aelita, Queen of Mars. To direct this monumental story, Russ induced the most experienced director of the pre-Revolutionary period - Yakov Protazanov - to return from exile in Paris.... The art direction is the most famous attribute of Aelita: the sets and costumes reveal in the fantastic Martian landscape a cubist design that resulted from Protazanov's experience in the French art world as well as from the direct participation of artists from the Russian constructivist movement.”

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