Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival

Programme (2020)

Space Dogs (2020)

Featuring never before seen archive materials, the film follows the adventures of Laika’s descendants, two street dogs living in today’s Moscow.

For anyone who happened to grow up with a fun, brightly coloured image of Laika the dog, the real Soviet hero, Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter’s Space Dogs will be a bit of a brutal awakening. Mostly because instead of repeating that calming parental litany of “she just disappeared”, making her sound like a canine Amelia Earhart of sorts, the filmmakers say exactly what happened to the first animal to ever orbit the Earth.

Also because the film isn’t only about the heart-breaking outcome of Laika’s imposed adventure, one that drove author Haruki Murakami to wonder about “the dark, lustrous eyes of the dog gazing out of the tiny window. In the infinite loneliness of space, what could Laika possibly be looking at?” Space Dogs is also about what led to her agony in the first place, a grim destiny shared by – it turns out – many others as the directors uncover the world of Soviet “space dogs”, swept off the streets of Moscow right into small cages and even smaller capsules, petrified and, yes, to repeat after the Japanese writer, so very alone.

The filmmakers’ insistence on following the mongrels, as opposed to their captors, takes them all the way to the streets – the very same ones that once housed that “first animal to be fired into space” and her successors.

Marta Bałaga, Cineuropa

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Film Title : Space Dogs
Language : venäjä
Director : Elsa Kremser, Levin Peter
Year : 2019
Length : 91
Age limit : K16
Format : DCP
Cinematographer : Yunus Roy Imer
Editing : Jan Soldat, Stephan Bechinger
Music : John Gürtler, Jan Miserre
Producer : Elsa Kremser, Levin Peter
Production Company : Raumzeitfilm

Screenings :
Thu 30.1. at 19.45, Kinopalatsi 7, followed by a Q&A with directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter
Fri 31.1. at 18.00, Kiasma
Sat 1.2. at 12.00, Bio Rex, followed by a Q&A with directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter