In The Moscow Times, a look at the director Alexei Fedorchenko and his ‘mockumentary’ about a forgotten 1938 Soviet lunar expedition, “Perviye na Lune” (“First on the Moon”).
“Working around the idea that the Soviet Union developed a space program in the 1930s, a project that culminated in a 1938 rocket launch, Fedorchenko mixed a range of material into ‘First on the Moon,’ from actual period newsreels to episodes scrupulously shot in the style of that time. Weaving between them are contemporary scenes, shot in color, which provide a linking strand in the form of a documentary investigation into the fates of the program’s participants. Screenings at Venice blurred the differences by bringing up the house lights before the film’s closing credits — which confirm that all roles were played by actors.
The result is stylish, sometimes very funny and ultimately affectionate toward its chosen subject. ‘The element of irony is very small, perhaps around 5 percent,’ Fedorchenko said in an interview this week. ‘The rest is something of an homage to the generation of our fathers or grandfathers, including their honesty, their genuine belief in an ideal.'”