Per Aspera Ad Astra (film)

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Per Aspera Ad Astra
Per Aspera Ad Astraposter.jpg
Directed by Richard Viktorov
Nikolai Viktorov (restored version)
Produced by Aleksandr Kazachkov
Yuri Obukhov
Sandy Frank (English language version producer)
Written by Richard Viktorov (screenplay)
Kir Bulychov (novel)
Music by Alexey Rybnikov (original score)
Sergei Skripka (conductor)
Cinematography Aleksandr Rybin
Sandor Berkesi (restored version)
Edited by Lyubov Pushkina (ed.)
Konstantin Zagorsky (production design)
Distributed by Gorky Film Studio
Goskino (restored version)
M-Film (restored version)
Release date
  • 1981 (1981) (2001)
Running time
148 minutes
123 minutes (restored version)
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

Per Aspera Ad Astra (Russian: Через тернии к звёздам, USA screen name - Through the Thorns to the Stars;[a] Humanoid Woman) is a 1981 Soviet film directed by Richard Viktorov and based on a novel by Kir Bulychov.

Plot[edit]

In the 23rd century, the starship Pushkin discovers a derelict alien spaceship of unknown origin. The alien craft's crew are identical humanoids created by an advanced cloning process. Most are dead, but one woman is found in a catatonic state. The leader of the mission, scientist Sergei Lebedev, brings her to Earth. He settles her in his house and names her Neeya.[b]

Neeya suffers from memory loss and cannot recall anything of her past. As she adapts to life on Earth, she discovers she has a variety of telekinetic powers. A friend of Lebedev, Prof. Ivanova, begins studying Neeya's neurophysiology and finds a special neurocenter in her brain which can be used to control the humanoid clones. Neeya is visiting the beach with Lebedev's son Stepan when Ivanova triggers the system. Neeya loses control of her body and falls into the water. The device also triggers a clear memory of her home planet, where she sees a man explain the purpose of the control system. The flashback ends when Stepan pulls her from the water.

Neeya joins an archaeological expedition, where she has another flashback which reveals she is from the planet Dessa. She returns to find that a diplomatic mission from Dessa has just arrived at the spaceport to ask for help from Earth. She learns they will return to Dessa on the Astra, and stows away on the ship. By chance, both Stepan and Prof. Ivanova are also aboard.

The Astra encounters Neeya's ship, identified by the Deesan diplomats as the Gaya. A transmitter for the command system has been left on, forcing Neeya to teleport aboard. She manages to disable the signal and is rescued by Stepan. One of the diplomats, Rakan, explains that the Gaya was the last ship to leave Dessa. Aboard was Professor Glan, who was building an army of clones and awaiting a signal from rebel forces on the planet that the time was right to return and take over.

The Astra reaches Deesa to find a planet that has been stripped of all minerals, leaving the air and water poisoned. Life on the surface is only possible due to Turanchoks, who runs a gas mask factory out of Glan's former institute. Turanchoks is unhappy with the presence of the Earth ship, which has the power to clean up the mess and put him out of business. After the humans successfully test a way to clean the air, he poisons the only remaining water supply and blames it on them. Due to Neeya's intervention, the plan is not wholly successful.

Turanchoks activates one of Glan's control devices and uses it to force Neeya to place a bomb on the Astra. Rakan attempts to stop him, but is stabbed by one of Turanchoks' agents. Near death, Rakan crawls off and releases Glan's last and most deadly experiment, a blob-like mass which begins killing everyone in the lab, including Turanchoks. Outside, Ivanova attempts to remove the bomb from Neeya's wrist but is shot by Turanchoks' agent. The shock of her death breaks the control's effect on Neeya. Her powers, aided by the remaining crew of the Astra, defeat the monster. The Astra leaves for home, leaving Neeya behind on a mended planet.

Variant cuts[edit]

A heavily-edited English-dubbed version, and entitled Humanoid Woman was featured on an early episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This cut had almost an hour of footage missing.

On December 27, 2001, a new restored version directed by Nikolai Viktorov, the son of the original film's director, was released as the 20th anniversary edition.[1] The release featured revised special effects by the Paradox company and an all-new soundtrack in Dolby Digital. This version was cut by twenty-five minutes in order to speed up the dynamics of the plot and excise Soviet ideological context.

Cast[edit]

Dubbing[edit]

Country[2] Company Air date Title
United States International Film Exchange, Celebrity Video Presentations 1982–1987 Per Aspera Ad Astra.
Italy Canale 5, Rai Fiction 1984, 2009 Per Aspera Ad Astra.
France France 2 1995 À travers les ronces vers les étoiles
Japan Toho, Fuji TV, TBS 1994, 2008 星にとげスルー
Spain Telecinco, TVE 1995, 2006 A través de las espinas a las estrellas.
South Korea MBC 2010 별빛으로 가시를 통해
Czech Republic ČT1 2012 Skrze utrpení ke hvězdám
Croatia Hrvatska radiotelevizija 2013 Kroz teškoća do zvijezda
United Arab Emirates Dubai TV 2007 من خلال الأشواك إلى نجوم
Greece Alter Channel 2009 Κορίτσι-ρομπότ
Sweden TV4 2004 Stjärnklar prinsessa Niya
China CTV 2000 通過星荊棘
Thailand Channel 3 (Thailand) 2012 ผ่านหนามไปดาว
India (Tamil) ETV Tamil 2011 நட்சத்திரங்களை முட்கள் மூலம்
India (Hindi) Disney Channel South Asia 2009 सितारों के लिए कांटों के माध्यम से

Mystery Science Theater 3000[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A more direct translation would be "through adversity to the stars".
  2. ^ Or Niyya, or many alternate spellings.

References[edit]

External links[edit]