The once great Russian Space Programme is now a shell of it’s former self. Thousands of people lost their jobs, entire towns ceased to exist. Some make a living chasing the space junk as it falls to earth after every lunch. Others just survive by living off the land. This is touched on in Space Tourists, but it’s only a side note when it could have been a poignant measuring stick for poverty vs obnoxious riches.
Rather Space Tourists focuses on it’s title; Space Tourists – and rightly so some of you might think – and in doing so misses the mark on being an informative documentary and instead falls into the camp of pure voyeurism.
The main focus is on Indian-Iranian businesswoman Anousheh Ansari and her $20 Million, week long visit to the International Space Station. We get to see some of her training at Russia’s Star City and wonder at the point of it all as well see her floating in her sleeping bag, gazing out at planet earth.
For Anousheh Ansari this trip to space is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and she tries to justify it by having the gall to say that she did it to try and make Space Travel available to everyone. After her cosmic experience she even invests money in setting up a fund that encourages people to invent vehicles to can be used for commercial space flights. All because she claims that she want’s to make the cosmos reachable to normal people.
It’s here where I just couldn’t help myself. I rolled my eyes and slapped myself. How ignorant was this lady. Space Travel available for everyone. How out of touch was she – and by association this documentary – when not even the relative cheapness of air travel is affordable for everyone – even in our so called richer nations.
Sure, Space Tourists is an interesting voyeuristic experience – in part – but because Director Christina Frei tried to add some depth by adding in the brief story of the junk hunters and that of a Magnum photographer it fails even in this genre.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read