The selling point of Yakov Protazanov's 1924 silent film Aelita: Queen of Mars isn't its plot, but its elaborate Constructivist sets and costuming that were highly experimental for the 1920s and predated the futurist aesthetic of Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

As for the plot of Aelita (which was based on a book by Alexei Tolstoy), it's a curious hybrid of space opera and Soviet propaganda. Aelita, a lonely Martian queen, spies on the Earth scientist Los using her high-powered telescope and falls in love with him. Los meanwhile is unhappy with his flirtatious wife and builds a rocket to visit Aelita on Mars. Once there, Los leads the Martian working class up against the red planet's overlords.

The film's plot may be hit or miss for viewers, but Aelita is definitely a stylistic marvel, a glimpse into the aesthetic innovation of early scifi cinema, and an intriguing snapshot of Soviet filmmaking pre-Stalinism.

Watch the rest of Aelita here: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

[Ishexan's YouTube via Super Punch]