Out of the Present
Sergei Krikalev, Anatoli Artsebarski, Alexandr Volkov, Helen Sharman,
“The first film made in outer space” (as the film’s press notes lightheartedly proclaim), Andrei Ujică’s Russian-made precursor to The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu is another found-footage documentary mining more otherworldly, yet no less epochal material: the voyage of Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who left the earthly Soviet Union in 1991 for the Mir space station, only to live through (or above) the political upheaval that rendered his country obsolete. As statues fell, crowds rioted, and leaders fled, Krikalev observed only a curving, seemingly unchanging globe. Ujică’s film is both a political history lesson and a work of existential sci-fi reminiscent of 2001 or Solaris.