Science Fiction Film & Television

The potential of the past: First on the Moon

Science Fiction Film & Television (2016), 9, (2), 159–179.

Abstract

Aleksei Fedorchenko’s First on the Moon (Pervye na Lune; 2005) suggests that alternative histories are not about militarism or extreme dystopias. Instead the film is a mediation on the relationship between the past and possibility. In other words, if alternative histories are derided for eschewing the more traditional view of sf which sees change located in the future, First on the Moon suggests that the future is locked down, meaning that the limitless possibilities of what-is-to-come have already been decided for us. Reflecting the thought of Paolo Virno, the film paradoxically suggests that it is looking into the past which creates alternatives to the present. In fact, this idea will be taken one step further: First on the Moon shows that potentiality is only located in the past and never in the future. Thus alternative histories are seen to be central to discussions of sf, for they can show how the unanticipated future has now become the unanticipated past.

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Willems, Brian