From the Tsars to the Stars
Russian Fantastic Cinema

October 30 - December 13, 2015

Wind demons and crystal palaces... Shimmering aquatic gill-men and limitless vistas of outer space... For over eight decades Russian cinema has had an inspired filmmaking tradition that encompasses science fiction, folkloric fantasy, and absurdist humor, producing wildly entertaining films. Pera Film in collaboration with Seagull Films presents From the Tsars to the Stars: Russian Fantastic Cinema, a program featuring rare films from the Russian cinema’s long tradition of fantastical science fiction.

“Fantastika is a general term we’re using for all of it: science fiction, fantasy, horror, fables,” says Robert Skotak, co-conceiver of the series and an Oscar winner for his special-effects contributions to Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. “I mean, Cosmic Voyage [1936], which hasn’t really been seen in the West whatsoever, is a heroic tale of a Communist society traveling to the moon! It was made during Stalin’s purges and the push to modernize. But it’s also as accurate a picture of space travel as one could conjecture at the time. Fanciful sequences of stop-motion animation, extravagant effects: This is an entertaining movie!”

Beginning with the pioneering animation of Ladislaw Starewicz, through the silent classic Aelita: Queen of Mars, and on to the astonishing visions of Aleksandr Ptushko and Pavel Klushantsev, Russian genre cinema was amazingly colorful, technologically advanced, and thematically ambitious. Master Andrei Tarkovsky took this further, fashioning the highly philosophical and feverishly cinematic sci-fi epics Solaris and Stalker. Still other films, such as Karen Shakhnazarov's remarkable, black comic meditation on Soviet history during the Perestroika era Zero City and Alexei Fedorchenko's First on the Moon, are crafty allegories of an ideological system in its waning days.

Years before Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, Soviet visual-effects artists were creating breathtaking visions of humankind's voyage to outer space. In retrospect, an added fascination of these films is the Soviet party line suffusing fictive space exploration with a real-world mission—to bring the revolution, at least figuratively, to the solar system and beyond.

From the Tsars to the Stars: Russian Fantastik Cinema was originally presented in 2006 by Seagull Films, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the American Cinematheque in collaboration with Concern Mosfilm, Russian State Archive Gosfilmofond and M-Film Studio. The program is curated by Alla Verlotsky, Robert Skotak and Dennis Bartok.


In collaboration with

October 30

20:00 Aelita, Queen of Mars

October 31

14:00 The Amphibian Man

November 7

19:00 To the Stars by Hard Ways

November 8

16:00 Aelita, Queen of Mars

18:00 The Amphibian Man

November 11

17:00 Planet of Storms

November 14

19:00 Solaris

November 21

19:00 First on the Moon

November 22

16:00 Planet of Storms

18:00 To the Stars by Hard Ways

November 28

15:00 Solaris

18:00 Stalker

December 9

19:00 Zero City

December 12

19:00 Stalker

December 13

14:00 Zero City

16:00 First on the Moon

Aelita, Queen of Mars

Aelita, Queen of Mars

Planet of Storms

Planet of Storms

The Amphibian Man

The Amphibian Man

Solaris

Solaris

Stalker

Stalker

To the Stars by Hard Ways

To the Stars by Hard Ways

Zero City

Zero City

First on the Moon

First on the Moon

Program Trailer

From the Tsars to the Stars
Russian Fantastic Cinema

Pera Film in collaboration with Seagull Films presents From the Tsars to the Stars: Russian Fantastic Cinema, a program featuring rare films from the Russian cinema’s long tradition of fantastical science fiction.

Giacometti: Early Works

Giacometti: Early Works

Organized in collaboration with the Giacometti Foundation, Paris, the exhibition explores Giacometti’s prolific life, most of which the artist led in his studio in Montparnasse, through the works of his early period as well his late work, including one unfinished piece. Devoted to Giacometti’s early works, the first part of the exhibition demonstrates the influence of Giovanni Giacometti, the father of the artist and a Swiss Post-Impressionist painter himself, on Giacometti’s output during these years and his role in his son’s development. 

Istanbul-Paris-Istanbul: Mario Prassinos

Istanbul-Paris-Istanbul: Mario Prassinos

Mario Prassinos liked Istanbul more than the current Istanbulites of today. It is obvious that you can understand this from the article written by her daughter Catherine Prassinos in the Pera Museum's book on the artist.

Mark Požlep

Mark Požlep

Our Cold Front from the Balkans exhibition focuses on different generations of artists and art groups from the Balkan region. Throughout the exhibition, we keep sharing detailed information about the artworks. Take a look at Mark Požlep’s “Stranger than Paradise” video installation. Also you can check our interview with the artist on our YouTube channel!