A little-known Russian sci-film from 1982, Per Aspera Ad Astra is an oddity to say the least but the premise is actually quite elegant. An expedition into space finds an alien craft with only one survivor. Lacking much of her memory, the cloned female is brought back to Earth by a scientist who decides to welcome her into his family as an interesting cultural experiment. Weirdness ensues.
The alien known as Niya exhibits bizarre abilities and an awkward behavior that is at once childlike. Through a dream-like experience, she recalls not only her origins but also her secret mission for her planet Dessa. It just so happens that Dessa is attempting to bamboozle the Earth into helping them with an underhanded ploy to take over. When a ship is sent to Dessa, Niya is on board, but after returning to her home planet, she becomes brainwashed. Luckily Niya resists the mental control and assists her human friends.
It’s kind of a weird mix of the Man Who Fell to Earth with E.T. featuring stunning effects and groundbreaking film concepts.
The movie is incredibly bizarre and features some impressive imagery by way of simple camera trickery. Of course the Per Aspera Ad Astra is mainly known to many for being covered by MST3K back when it was on KTMA, albeit in a greatly butchered form.
It was restored in 2001 using material discovered by the director’s son. With a script by acclaimed author Kir Bulychev, Per Aspera Ad Astra is a cult flick that is desperately in need of more attention.