DFT @ Home | Space Dogs

(Austria/Russia/2019—directed by Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter)

Laika, a stray dog picked up by the Soviet space program on the streets of Moscow, became the first living being to orbit the earth when she was launched into space on Sputnik 2 in 1957. Although Laika would not survive the journey, directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter trace the persistence of her memory and legacy into the present day. As the capsule containing Laika re-entered Earth’s orbit and began to burn up, what had been a Moscow street dog had become a ghost. Laika’s ghost inhabits the present-day strays of Space Dogs; photographed at ground level with hypnotic visual style, contemporary strays navigate the urban environs of modern Moscow.

Archival footage of the Soviet space program is interwoven throughout, revealing the bizarre procedures the canines were subjected to in preparation for space travel. The alien sights and sounds of the modern city are experienced in a dreamlike manner that recalls the films of Andrei Tarkovsky as Space Dogs evolves into a singular, avant-garde documentary that de-centers humans in order to uncover a forgotten history. In Russian with English subtitles. (91 minutes)

Please note: Space Dogs is intended for adult audiences only: it contains graphic scenes of violence – including archival footage of scientists engaged in animal experimentation - that will be disturbing to some viewers. 

“A total work of art, foreshadowing a near future in which man is no longer the center of the world.” —Kino Zeit

“Deeply sensitive – a complex work that got under my skin.” —Film Comment

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