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Animation / We Can't Live Without Cosmos

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We Can't Live Without Cosmos is a 2015 animated short film (12 minutes) from Russia, by Konstantin Bronzit.

Two young men, best friends from childhood, are both trainees in the Russian—or Soviet, the time frame is vague—space program. The two men, known only as trainees 1203 and 1204 (and distinguishable by little more than the fact that 1203's head is square-shaped while 1204's is elongated), are roommates and partners in cosmonaut training camp. They zip through training with ease, graduate at the top of their class, and become cosmonauts. A joyful 1203 is launched into space, with 1204 as his backup on earth. Then tragedy strikes.


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Tropes:

  • Ambiguously Gay: It's not really all that ambiguous. They're seen holding hands. They're arm-in-arm as they look out at the rocket on the launch pad. They're even seen in the same bed together as one reads a book. When 1203 is lost in space 1204 reacts like a lover, curling up into a fetal position. Really the only thing arguing against viewing 1203 and 1204 as gay is that they come across as overgrown children rather than adults in a relationship.
  • Call-Back:
    • Our two goofy heroes are shown jumping up and down on their mattresses in their barracks room. When 1204 gets a new roommate, the springs sag beneath him and the new guy has to prop the bed up with some boxes.
    • That jumping-on-mattresses scene gets more dreamlike when 1203 and 1204 jump off their mattresses and into the blackness of space in what seems like an Imagine Spot. The ending however shows 1204 actually jumping into space from his mattress, where he's found, presumably dead, by 1203.
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  • Death by Transceiver: 1203's spaceflight is cut short very soon after he makes it to orbit, apparently by an explosion. As seen in Mission Control, the video signal of 1203 in space gets jittery, and then fails with a Snowy Screen of Death, only to briefly come back just long enough to show 1203's book drifting through space, indicating explosive failure of the spacecraft.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: One man in Mission Control sits down heavily in his chair after the spacecraft explodes.
  • Efficient Displacement: 1204 leaves a neat 1204-shaped hole in the ceiling when he jumps off into space from his mattress.
  • Fatal Family Photo: The Polaroid of 1203 and 1204 arm-in-arm, right before the former gets into the spacecraft, is a harbinger of tragedy. 1204 is left clutching it after disaster strikes. When Mission Control opens up his suit, the photo is the only thing inside.
  • Manchild: The two cosmonauts act like goofy kids. They throw food at each other in the cafeteria. They jump on their mattresses. There's a piggyback ride. 1203 makes faces as he ascends the elevator to his spacecraft.
  • Mission Control: They monitor 1203's flight and watch in horror as it ends in disaster. 1204 has to be dragged out.
  • Mood Whiplash: It's not hard to guess that it's coming, but still, the shift to a much darker tone in the second half of the cartoon is a major departure from the light whimsy of the first part.
  • Silence Is Golden: No dialogue.
  • Smart People Play Chess: When 1203 and 1204 aren't goofing around like little kids they're playing chess in their barracks room, complete with timer clock.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: Seen in Mission Control when 1203's spacecraft explodes, interrupting the video feed.
  • Title Drop: 1203 and 1204 read a book titled We Can't Live Without Cosmos. 1203 takes it with him into space.
  • Together in Death: Somehow, 1204 jumps from his bed and launches himself through the roof of the barracks and all the way into space. He is left drifting, without a suit and presumably dead (although if he can jump into space maybe he can breathe there too). The last shot shows 1204's gloved hand (he's still in his suit) grasp 1203's wrist, leaving them adrift in space together.
  • Training Montage: Most of the first part of the film, showing 1203 and 1204 going through training with all the other would-be cosmonauts—swimming, running, zipping around in a centrifuge. One gag shows 1203 and 1204 jauntily strolling out of the centrifuge, then shows them vomiting in a nearby restroom.
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