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Space Dogs

A film by Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter

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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. 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, the narrator announces “What had been a Moscow street dog had become a ghost.”

The ghost Laika lives on in the present-day strays of SPACE DOGS. Photographed at ground level with wandering, hypnotic camera movements, the strays are seen navigating the urban environs of modern Moscow. In hewing closely to the dog’s point of view, the city is rendered as a strange, alien environment. Pulsating music from buildings and unidentified passerby take on an unfamiliar quality as the dogs explore this strange new world.

Archival footage of the Soviet space program is interwoven throughout the film, reveling in the bizarre tests and procedures the canines were subjected to in preparation for space travel. The hum of space-age machinery blends seamlessly with the hypnotic drone of the soundtrack, which in turn echoes the alien sounds of the modern city. With stunning cinematography and meditative pacing that recalls the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, SPACE DOGS is a singular work that de-centers humans in order to uncover a forgotten history.

“A complex work that goes under your skin.” —Film Comment

No one leaves this movie unchanged.”Publico

“Like Disney directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.” —CineVue

“Space Dogs successfully subverts the anthropocentric gaze to Illustrate the violent way humans inhabit space." —Little White Lies

“Kremser and Peter connect a roughly hewn space traveling animal history with modern stray subjects, coalescing into a mood piece managing to be mix of effective estrangement and ingenious metaphor.” —IONCINEMA

Special Mention, Locarno IFF 2019
Reykjavik IFF 2019
Best Austrian Film & ExtraVALUE Film Award, Viennale 2019
DOK Leipzig 2019
Sevilla IFF 2019
Houston Cinema Arts Festival 2019
RIDM Montréal 2019
Tallinn Black Nights 2019
Torino IFF 2019
Special Jury Award, FIDOCS 2019
Stranger than Fiction 2019

91 minutes / Color
Russian / English subtitles
Release: 2020
Copyright: 2019

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

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