In 1924, Zenon Komisarenko, Youry Merkulov and Nikolai Khodataev produced Interplanetary Revolution, which might just be one of the strangest Soviet propaganda films ever produced.
First, the film is animated using not only traditional cel animation but also collage and stop motion, giving the work a queasy, disorienting feel. A bit like looking at a painting by Henry Darger.
Then there is the film’s story. As an intertitle proclaims, this is “a tale about Comrade Coninternov, the Red Army Warrior who flew to Mars, and vanquished all the capitalists on the planet!!” This already sounds better that John Carter.
The movie, however, is rather hard to follow without either the appropriate amount of revolutionary fervor or, perhaps, hallucinogens. Interplanetary Revolution opens with a wild-eyed, ax-wielding bulldog with a top hat – a capitalist, obviously. Other capitalists, with swastikas on their foreheads, suck the blood from a hapless member of the proletariat. Then the revolution comes and a pantless capitalist demon loses his mind after devouring a copy of Pravda. Next, the capitalists all board a giant flying shoe and fly off into space. From there, the film gets kind of weird.
You can watch the whole thing above. It’s also added to our list of Free Animated Films, a subset of our collection, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, Documentaries & More.
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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads. The Veeptopus store is here.
“Other capitalists, with swastikas on their foreheads…”
In 1924, the swastika was far better known as a Hindu religious symbol than for its use by the Nazi Party, still an obscure minor faction in Germany.
Is it possible the swastikas were added to the film later on?
@Rich Rostrom: No, this is not unusual at all. The German events of 1923 have been widely reported upon in the Soviet press, thus the Nazi Party was well-known, and organisations like the MOPR often employed the swastika when making visual propaganda about fascists in the West.
Note that it’s “Comrade Cominternov,” no doubt a play on Comintern, the Communist International.