First On The Moon

Deftly combining actual and ersatz archival footage, Alexei Fedorchenko’s 2005 Russian pseudodocumentary maintains that the first flight to the moon occurred in 1938 but remained a secret after the rocket crash-landed in Chile. A deadpan satire about Stalinist secrecy and surveillance that draws upon diverse sources, including the 1936 Cosmic Voyage (see separate listing), this video is more ingenious than absorbing, perhaps because it’s twice as long as it needs to be. It isn’t really a mockumentary because it mainly exploits rather than unpacks the potential deceptions of the documentary form. I might have enjoyed its cynical gallows humor more if I’d seen it with an audience. In Russian with subtitles. 76 min. (JR)

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