Russian President Vladimir Putin Watches New Russian Blockbuster Salyut-7, A Space Drama Based On True Story
Credit to Vesti News
Russia’s space blockbuster Salyut-7 is a fascinating look at cinematic heroism
In its opening moments, the Russian space thriller Salyut-7 feels like an alternate-universe version of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. Two cosmonauts on a spacewalk in 1983 joke with a compatriot inside the Salyut 7 space station, theorizing about when the USSR government will want to experiment with sex in space, and how much time they’ll need to (or get to) spend in Earthside training simulators for the project. Then a minor welding accident punctures one cosmonaut’s glove. As her suit pressure rapidly drops, hypoxia threatens, and she becomes less and less cogent, her partner gently talks her through the rescue process. The music, the editing, and the taut, escalating drama of the scene all belie his perfect calm as he persuades her toward safety. Meanwhile, Earth abides below, beautiful but threatening, and dizzyingly far away.
This breathless, intense sequence is just the opening salvo in a high-tech thriller that’s familiar in many respects to American space blockbusters, from fiction like Gravity to historical dramas like Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff. Salyut-7 is also based on real history: it tracks the USSR’s dramatic 1985 mission to reboot and rescue the crippled Salyut 7 space station, after an accident left it unpowered and unresponsive to ground control. The station was empty at the time, which left ground crews with no way of determining how badly it had malfunctioned, or whether it could be repaired. The entire mission relied on a great deal of on-the-fly decision-making as the situation unfolded. And as it plays out in Salyut-7 — amid familiar space movie threats of dwindling supplies, malfunctioning equipment, unforeseen crises, and an uncompromisingly hostile environment — it says some fascinating things about how blockbuster moviemaking works, and how universal certain kinds of heroism are
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