This enlightening, visually stunning film takes us on a journey into privatised space travel and the 21st-century legacy of the Soviet space programme.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
It costs a cool $20 million to secure a seat in a Soyuz capsule and spend eight days as a civilian guest aboard the International Space Station. This enlightening, visually stunning film takes us on a journey into the 21st-century legacy of the Soviet space programme. Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen has spent years at a time documenting the vast reaches of the former Soviet Union. He leads us to the extraordinary Baikonur Cosmodrome, once the mighty hub of the Soviet space programme and the biggest space station in the world, and to the now-derelict towns that once housed the programme’s engineers and workers. In the Kazakhstan steppes, massive rocket junk falling from the heavens provides a lucrative source of scrap metal that is recycled in startlingly creative ways. Meanwhile, Indian-Iranian businesswoman Anousheh Ansari spends the $20 million, endures rigorous training in Star City and fulfills her life-long dream. Her amazing footage allows us to marvel along with her. Terrific stuff. — SR