It was released in Soviet cinemas in 1981, was later severely toned down, and is now celebrating its German home cinema premiere after more than 40 years – making it the world’s first long version on Blu-ray: “The Woman from Space”.
It would be a bit presumptuous to call “The Woman from Space” from 1981 a classic. In fact, over the past four decades, Soviet science fiction films have gradually disappeared from the scene – although a lot has been done over time to bring them closer to an international audience. With moderate success. But maybe that will change now with the HD world premiere on Blu-ray.
After Richard Viktorov’s film was once released for the international market in a version shortened by a full hour, it was the original director’s son, Nikolai Viktorov, who breathed new life into “The Woman from Space” in 2001 – and a new version with reworked special effects, in which almost 25 minutes were still missing at the end. More than 20 more years later, the version that sci-fi enthusiasts and Soviet cinema fans have been waiting for is finally here: “The Woman from Space” appears for the first time as a completely restored, unabridged long version for home cinema – as a limited edition:
The distributor Ostalgica, which specializes in genre cinema from all over the world, has taken on the award-winning film and is now giving the long version its Blu-ray world premiere. And it shouldn’t just be popular with local fans, but also end up on the wish lists of many a cineaste internationally. If you want to have the forgotten Soviet cult in your collection, you won’t get a better version, at least for the time being.
This is “The Woman From Space”
Based on a novel by Soviet science fiction author Kir Bulychov, “The Woman from Space” tells the story of the artificially created Nijja (Yelena Metyolkina) from the distant planet Dessa, who ends up on earth in the 23rd century. With no memory of their past, the humanoid being is taken in by the earthlings. Nijja not only learns the language of humans but also has telekinetic abilities. She can teleport, be controlled via cerebral telecentres – and after a while she finally recognizes her true purpose, the reason for which she was created.
Their home planet not only suffers from the machinations of the dark ruler Turanchok (Vladimir Fyodorov), but also threatens to gradually die in the face of increasing destruction and pollution. Nijja’s mission is to avert the end of her world – and so she sets off together with a troop of earthly companions on the way to Dessa…
Even if “The Woman from Space” was denied a triumphant advance through the international cinemas, the sci-fi adventure is still considered one of the most popular fantasy films of the 80s in its homeland. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the International Science Fiction Film Festival in Trieste and best film about science at the Vilnius National Film Festival, the haircut of leading actress Yelena Metyolkina set a lasting fashion trend. The haunting soundtrack by Alexej Rybnikow, which – in addition to a picture gallery and a program preview – also made it onto the Blu-ray as a bonus, was particularly emphasized by the audience and specialist prizes.