Series / Guest from the Future

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Прекрасное далёко....
Guest from the Future (Гостья из будущего) is a 1984 Cult Classic Soviet Science Fiction TV Mini Series directed by Pavel Arsenov. It is based on the book One Hundred Years Ahead by Kir Bulychev, part of a series about Alisa Seleznyova, a girl from the future.

The series is considered a classic of Soviet sci-fi, and is often aired on television to this day. It exemplifies the optimism the Soviets had for science, technology, and futurism, as well as their faith in children. The film was followed by a sequel, Liliac Sphere. The theme song "Prekrasnoye Daleko" (roughly "Fair Unknown") by Yevgeny Krylatov has also become very popular. The star, Natalia Guseva, was inspired by her role to become a scientist herself. The Fan Sequel Guest From The Future 2 may be seen here.

The 5-episode miniseries was a co-production of Soviet Central Television and the Gorky Film Studio, with its original run airing from March 26-30, 1985.


Tropes:

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Jolly U and Rat tell Albina they are from a psychiatric hospital for dangerous children, and Alisa, the most dangerous person, has escaped. Albina gives them the information they need.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The children come to save Kolya from the pirates, Marta Erasovna steps in to defend the children against the pirates, and then Polina appears from the future to arrest the pirates.
  • Big Heroic Run: Plenty of running around Moscow.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Jolly U: "We have no right to traumatize an innocent child."
    • The man who saw the pirates carry Kolya away lies to the children, but is discovered by Mielofon.
  • Brick Joke: Marta Erasovna coming to the old house to look for Alisa, having chased after her for the last two episodes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Mielofon. It can read the mind of any life form, so Alisa is at first using it on a crocodile at the zoo. Near the end, the children use it to read the mind of the witness and find Kolya in the old house.
  • Children Are Innocent: When the schoolchildren are looking for Kolya after he was carried away by the pirates, the eyewitness asks "What if [the pirates] have a right to carry boys?" The children reply, as one, "THERE IS NO SUCH RIGHT!" The pirates' torture of Kolya is played much darker than most of their other deeds.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: How the pirates plan to extract the location of the Mielofon from Kolya.
  • Composite Character: Werther is a combination of several future characters from the book.
  • Computer Voice: The time machine has a computer that speaks in a flat male voice. "Enter the circle. Grasp the handrails. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. [after trip] Transfer finished. Happy trip!"
  • Cool Car: The flying cars.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The book has the Rat using his shapeshifting for actor work.
  • Description Porn: The inventory chamber in the Time Institute gives for life forms their species, location, and home era, and for objects their purpose, make, model, producer, and date of production. See here.
  • Dog Walks You: The big dog that chases Jolly U pulls its owner.
  • Dynamic Entry: The pirates crash their flying car into the doors of the Time Institute.
"It's some kind of fool who's in love. I don't feel comfortable listening to her."
"It's not entertainment; it's business."
"And we're not supposed to have satisfaction doing that."
  • Hugh Mann: The pirates' disguises are not perfect.
  • Junior High: School 20. It's in fact a middle school, that is, junior and high combined into one continuous school. Standard operating procedure in the (ex-)USSR.
  • Leitmotif: Alisa's theme "Prekrasnoe Daleko," the pulsating time-travel music, and the pirates' bumbling theme.
  • Medium Awareness: Yulia explains that scientists in the future will name their inventions for the inventions described in science fiction books, showing to Alisa that Kolya Sadovsky is the wrong Kolya.
  • Mundane Utility: There are portals that are used for public transit around Moscow, and the time machines are built around similar principles.
  • New Transfer Student: Yulia's explanation for Alisa's appearance in school.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The effects are a bit campy, and the acting is not Bolshoi Theater quality, but it is a fond childhood memory for many.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted Trope. There are three boys named Kolya in class: Kolya Sulima, Kolya Sadovsky, and Kolya Gerasimov. So Alisa and Yulia come up with The Plan to find the right one.
  • The Plan: Devised by Alisa and Yulia to find the right Kolya.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Several changes have been made to make the plot more concise, cut down the number of characters, or keep the special effects within the limits of the budget.
    • Many alien future characters from the book were combined into Werther, who as a biorobot, was easier to film.
    • Jolly U and Rat were both Starfish Aliens, and only Rat could shapeshift. In the film, both pirates can shapeshift.
    • The Mielofon is simplified from a box with headphones and wires to a box with a crystal.
    • Alisa escaped the hospital a day after Yulia did, but in the film both escape on the same day.
    • The number of scenes of characters arguing has been reduced.
    • Kolya's last name was Naumov, but had to be changed to Gerasimov because they hired the actor Ilya Naumov (Fima).
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Alisa tells the children their futures. However, it's ambiguous if she isn't making this up on the spot.
    • Harsher in Hindsight: given what we do know about the kids' future... Wonder if any single one of them survives long enough to see it all and meet Alisa again.
  • Raygun Gothic: The 2080s, which have energy weapons, space travel, time travel, humanoid robots, flying cars, and the Mielofon. Science and technology are so advanced that schoolchildren regularly launch rockets for projects.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Werther, who has a sense of humor (he suggests putting Kolya in the Time Museum), dedicates poetry to Polina, and performs a You Shall Not Pass! Heroic Sacrifice against the pirates.
  • Rousseau Was Right
    • To the point where every person is more or less The Idealist except the two antagonists who are alien. There is this great sense of genuine optimism about the whole series. The people making it were not paying lip service, but truly believed in a "beautiful faraway future" in which there is peace, equality, great technological advancement and humanity as a whole took a great step forward. Alisa states that she is not special, all future children are as smart and athletic as her. The series ends on a fantastically optimistic point as Alisa tells her classmates that they will all become great members of a wonderful socialist country, making the finale particularly heartbreaking in hindsight.
  • Running Gag:
    • Kolya is always touching things.
    • Jolly U is obsessed with drinking kefir.
    • Rat cannot stop speaking in riddles.
    • Alik Borisovich is unable to finish his story about visiting the Sea of Azov.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: The schoolchildren wear orange Pioneer scarves, and Alisa gets one when Yulia gives her a uniform.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Kolya's flight over Moscow.
    • The Kosmozoo.
  • The Slow Path: Alisa promises the children they will see her in the future.
  • Space Clothes: Jumpsuits, silver and otherwise, as well as smooth, monochrome clothes.
    • But several people, such as Pavel and Electron, wear old-fashioned suits.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Alisa or Alice?
    • Kolya Sulima or Kolya Sulimov? The captions say Sulimov, but the credits say Sulima.
  • Talking Animal: Napoleon the goat, attributed to genetic engineering.
  • Theme Song Assonance: The opening notes to "Prekrasnoe Daleko" sound like "Alisa Seleznyova, Alisa Seleznyova..."
  • Totally Radical: Averted. The children speak pretty much like any kids who are 12 or 13.
  • Wall Crawl: Jolly U climbs the walls of an apartment building to get away from a dog.
  • Wire Fu: Jumping over cars and walking up buildings, 15 years before The Matrix.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Jolly U pretends to be Kolya asking for help so he can lure Alisa into the old house.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Werther tries to stop the pirates, but they pull out a blaster and shoot him.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/GuestFromTheFuture