This is Aelita: Queen of Mars, a silent science fiction movie made in 1924 under the direction of Yakov Protazanov and based on writings by A. Tolstoj. And for a science fiction movie made in 1924, this is really quite a sight — the sets and costumes, even the idea of getting messages from Mars, were so far-fetched for its time, and that’s what makes it so fun to watch. True, it’s chock full of Soviet propaganda. But what it’s also about is a Martian queen (Aelita) observing Earth and sending messages to a scientist with whom she’s fallen in love, who is also trying to build a rocket ship to see her. (Not unlike The Little Mermaid, just in space and not the sea, and less “whoozits and whatzits galore” and more working-class uprisings.) To say nothing of the birth of science fiction filmmaking.