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The Red Stuff

Documentary film, 1999, 78 min.

In the late fifties, several pilots were selected for a dangerous and secret mission: the first space flight. The Red Stuff - a play on the American counterpart The Right Stuff - portrays several early cosmonauts who have now retired. In their own surroundings, they look back on their heroic deeds that were used almost exclusively as Russian propaganda. They explain how they were prepared and kept ignorant. After the first unmanned satellite was launched in 1957 and then one with the dog Layka was shot into space, on 13 April 1961 the first cosmonaut, Yuri Gargarin, was put into an orbit around the earth. In '62 three men were launched in a capsule that was much too small. The interviews are juxtaposed with unique archive footage, poems and propaganda songs. These illustrate the stories in a film about camaraderie, guilt and pride.

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