Straight from the archives of the Italian-USSR Association, here are two formidable documentaries that combine scientific education with a celebration of the very high level of technological development achieved by the Soviet empire in the past. To contemporary viewers they look incredibly well made, while at the same time showing a number of surprisingly bizarre and creative angles. Four-legged astronauts describes some pioneering experiments concerning the launching of living beings into space. It features the bitch Laika, a rabbit in a spacesuit and other examples of what is ostentatiously called “cosmic medicine”.
The animals look suspiciously tame, as though they were aware of the historic task entrusted to them, and the cinematic
strategies used turn them into actual heroes - just like their Hollywood counterparts, from Lassie to Rin-Tin-Tin.