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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos 

By Phil Plait

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos is a sweet, short, Oscar-nominated animated film. It was written and directed by Konstantin Bronzit, and tells the tale of two men, constant friends, who apply for the Russian cosmonaut program.

The story is lovely, and I found myself laughing delightedly at the sheer joy unabashedly radiating from the two friends. That to me sets it apart from other stories of its kind.

I won’t spoil the ending. Just watch.

The story strikes me as being very Russian; it reminds me of several folk tales I read about years ago, when I became entranced by Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Understand the cruelty of the mindless Universe, accept it, but also find the joy and friendship in life. It’s not a stereotypical American way of seeing things, necessarily (overcome the obstacles, ingenuity and stick-to-itiveness will prevail!), but it’s one that still resonates with me.

Update, March 26, 2016: As I watched the animation, it bugged me that there are no women cosmonauts or women in the flight support crew. It occurred to me that Bronzit may have trying to emulate the retro feel of the 1960, when women in the space program were scarce (in the U.S. and the USSR). Also, the men in the cosmonaut corps all looked very much alike, again hearkening back to the USSR propaganda film feel. Still, watching with today’s eyes (and from an American view) it seems out of place and out of touch. A lot of people commented on this on Twitter, and as I wrote there: "Not everything in the world will show the progress we hope to see. Cherish the parts that are good, and use the other parts as a lesson."

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