Aelita, Queen of Mars

Judith Rosenberg on Piano

Aelita tells of three Russians-an engineer, a soldier, and a detective-who fly to Mars and become involved in a revolutionary uprising among the Martian people. While there, the engineer has a love affair with Aelita, Queen of Mars. The lavish art direction is the most famous attribute of Aelita-the outlandish costumes by Alexandra Exter and the Constructivist sets of the fantastic Martian landscape. Aelita is equally fascinating, though rarely cited, for its detailed look at life in the U.S.S.R.: housing shortages and residual class conflicts are revealed to play havoc on personal lives. It is this that our satirically neurotic heroes attempt to escape. But, on Mars, technology itself has become the instrument for disenfranchising a whole class of people. The beautiful Aelita is played by Julia Solntseva, a film director in her own right and wife and collaborator of the great Ukrainian director Dovzhenko.

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