November 28, 2013

Gagarin: First in Space (2013)

Gagarin: First in Space (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Pavel Parkhomenko
Country: Russia

Movie Review: “Gagarin: First in Space” is the first biopic of Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, the first man to reach the outer space, when in April 12, 1961, his spacecraft Vostok 3KA completed an entire orbit around the Earth. Presented in radiant colored tones that recreate decently the 60’s, this state-funded film doesn’t hide its patriotic exacerbation, reinforcing the Soviet strictness, military determination, and national enthusiasm about the man who would open the frontiers of unexplored space. The story focuses on the period right before the tough tests that Gagarin was subjected along with a competitive group of 19 pilots, until his return from space. However, some flashbacks take us to several episodes of his poor childhood, involving his humble parents and brother, and how he met his wife for the first time during a dance ball. Despite his irreproachable career, his private life didn’t reveal anything particularly remarkable, and even his unwarming relationship with his incredulous father was depicted exactly in the way he always behave when facing a stressful situation: cold and unemotional. The fact that production designer turned director Parkhomenko (who worked in Alexey Balabanov’s films) has left behind the last seven years of Gagarin’s life, including the jet crash that caused his death in 1968, and the speculations about conspiracy involving it, must seem incomplete in the eyes of many. Production values are strong, while the special effects aren’t exuberant but appropriate.

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