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Guest from the Future (Гостья из будущего) is a 1984 Cult Classic Soviet Science Fiction TV Miniseries 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.
Two schoolboys, Kolya Gerasimov (Alexei Fomkin) and Fima Korolev (Ilya Naumov), follow a mysterious strange lady (Yelena Metyolkina) to an abandoned house. When they enter the house, they find no trace of the stranger, but in the empty basement Kolya discovers a secret door that leads to a room with a technical device in it. Curious Kolya starts pressing some buttons and activates the device that "transfers" him to another place. We learn that this place is the institute for temporal research. Employees return from time travels to different periods and deliver artifacts that are inventoried by Werther (Yevgeny Gerasimov), an android who holds a secret crush on the stranger whose name is Polina. Kolya sneaks around in the corridors but is ultimately caught by Werther, who starts inventorying Kolya as well, assuming that he was brought in by Polina. On this occasion Kolya learns that he has actually travelled through time into the late 21st century. Werther ponders putting Kolya in the museum but then decides to send him back in time in order to cover up what he thinks to be Polina's mistake. Kolya convinces him to let him catch some sights of the future first. On his exploration, Kolya learns about Teleporters and Transporters, Human Aliens, Anti Gravity and Casual Interstellar Travel. He also makes contact with Grandpa Pavel (Vladimir Nosik), a 130-years old man who is intrigued by his 1980s school uniform.
Having reached the space port, Kolya unsuccessfully tries to get a ticket for an interplanetary flight. However, by joining a group of pupils who escort their project satellite to the launch, he manages to enter the transit area. There he witnesses how two service workers are stunned and then impersonated by two Shapeshifting aliens that have emerged from a crate. Back in the waiting hall, Kolya meets grandpa Pavel again (who turns out to be Polina's future father-in-law) and tells about what he just saw, but the old man dismisses it as child's fantasies. Grandpa Pavel introduces Kolya to Professor Seleznyov (Yuri Grigoryev), director of the interplanetary zoo. Kolya spots the shape-shifters again. They lure grandpa Pavel away from the group, stun and impersonate him. The fake grandpa Pavel introduces the other shape-shifter to Prof. Seleznyov as a fellow scientist. The "scientist" shows conspicuous interest in a device called Mielofon, a mind-reader. Seleznyov mentions that the device is with his daughter Alisa (Natalia Guseva) in the interplanetary zoo. Kolya spots and awakens the real grandpa Pavel who tells him that the aliens are space pirates and that Alisa is in danger. He asks Kolya to find Alisa. In the zoo, the Space Pirates in new disguise (Vyacheslav Nevinny and Mikhail Kononov) steal the Mielofon from Alisa who tries to read animal minds. However, with the help of a man and his talking goat, Kolya can recover the device and temporarily escapes from the pirates in an air chase. He returns to the institute. While Kolya activates the time machine, Werther sacrifices himself trying to stop the pirates. Yet they use the machine to follow Kolya into the past. Meanwhile Alisa, chasing the pirates, has reached the institute and uses the time machine as well. In the 20th century, Kolya escapes while Alisa, not accustomed to 20th-century traffic, runs into a car. Kolya and Fima discuss what to do with the Mielofon. The pirates install themselves in the abandoned house and wait.
Alisa is in hospital, recovering after the accident and faking amnesia in order to hide her origin. However, she talks about dolphin languages and exotic fruits. Her roommate Yulia (Marianna Ionesyan) thinks she just makes up those stories but likes her anyway. In the night, Kolya and Fima enter the basement of the abandoned house but the entrance to the time machine is blocked. On their way back out they barely evade the pirates. Alisa finds out that Yulia attends the same school as Kolya (whom she never saw but whose data she got from the talking goat). She confesses to Yulia that she is from the future and that Kolya has taken something from her. They are interrupted by the shape-shifters posing as the doctor and "Alisa's father". When they cannot find the Mielofon, the pirates leave. At dawn the girls run away from the hospital to Yulia's place. When they meet Fima, Yulia introduces Alisa to him as a friend from far away. Alisa tells Yulia that now Kolya is in danger because he has the Mielofon. Yulia has their escape covered up by her grandmother. Meanwhile the boys are turning more and more paranoid and start acting like in spy movies. Fima has correctly guessed that Alisa is the Alisa from the future. One pirate comes too late to take Alisa from the hospital but manages to retrieve Yulia's address. Yulia's grandmother arranges for Alisa to be temporarily schooled in Yulia's school in order to find the right Kolya (as there are three and Alisa does not know his family name). She also brushes off the pirate who comes to ask for the girls. The pirates decide to survey both Yulia's place and her school.
Alisa is admitted to school, excels in English class and also receives love letters from boys. Fima, triumphant that his predictions have come true so far, wonders whether Alisa will try to eliminate Kolya as witness if he gives her the Mielofon. He explains to Kolya the danger of creating alternative timelines by using knowledge from the future. The pirates and the girls spot each other in a pedestrian precinct. A chase ensues but a neighbor with a big dog scares away the pirate. In class, the girls start interrogating the three Kolyas. The right Kolya is scared but is saved by Fima distracting the girls with a story of being in love. In a park, Kolya hides from a pirate. At home, the girls wonder why none of the Kolyas seemed to be the right one. Later the pirates observe the children during sports. Alisa exceeds in long jump, sparking interest not only in the pirates but also in a talent scout. The pirates decide to kidnap Alisa but the girls see their reflection in a shop window. They run away but are stopped by the talent scout (Natalia Varley) who demands to see more of Alisa's abilities. When the girls finally arrive home, they find themselves besieged by the pirates. They disguise as an adult to leave the house on the next morning. In the park, the pirates approach one of the Kolyas but he annoys them by being overly talkative. They trick another classmate into showing them the school's back entrance. Meanwhile Kolya has picked up the Mielofon from home and sneaks it in Yulia's schoolbag. A pirate enters the class disguised as teacher and calls out Alisa to check her schoolbag. When the real teacher encounters her copy, she drops unconscious. Kolya confesses to Alisa that he is the one who took the Mielofon and runs away, distracting the pirates' attention from Alisa. After a long chase, Kolya is caught, stunned and taken away. A witness is frightened into silence.
Alisa has run after the pirates and Kolya but has lost their track. The witness leads her in the wrong direction. The other children arrive to help searching, as Yulia has told them Alisa's secret. They worry that Kolya may be tortured in order to reveal where he keeps the Mielofon. Fima believes that the device is still at Kolya's place and runs there in order to pick it up before the pirates arrive. The other children search the building where Alisa lost Kolya's track. In the abandoned house, the pirates start interrogating Kolya. Meanwhile Yulia reaches for a snack in her schoolbag and discovers the Mielofon. The children use it to scan the remaining flats in the building. Alisa spots the witness and uses the Mielofon on him. His thoughts tell that two men carried an unconscious boy to the abandoned house. The children approach the house and are noticed by the pirates who also realize that Alisa carries the Mielofon. As Kolya has fallen unconscious from the torture, the pirates assume his shape. One distracts most children, the other lures Alisa into the house. While she cares for Kolya, the pirate takes the Mielofon. However, the talent scout has also entered the house. When the pirate threatens her, she throws him out of the window. The other pirate takes the Mielofon from him and tries to leave him behind in the 20th century. However, the access to the time machine is still blocked. The children rush in but one pirate fires his blaster, forcing the children to retreat. The door to the time machine opens and Polina enters in order to arrest the pirates. They fire on her as well but she is protected by a force field and paralyzes them. Alisa says goodbye and tells the children what they are going to become in the future. While she enters the secret chamber and the door closes, we hear the song "Beautiful Tomorrow".
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, Lilac 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 in the film to become a scientist herself. The Fan Sequel Guest from the Future 2 may be seen here.
- Adaptation Distillation: The plot moves a lot faster, the space pirates are more dangerous, and we get Werther.
- Applied Phlebotinum
- The Mielofon.
- The time machines.
- The robots.
- The flying cars.
- The portals.
- The inventory chamber.
- Ascetic Aesthetic
- 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.
- The Bechdel Test: Passes. Alisa and Yulia, while in the hospital, start by talking about where they are from, and then talk about food. Later on, they talk about Kolya and other boys, but not in a romantic sense, as they are trying to figure out which Kolya is the one who visited the future.
- 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.
- Black Box: The Mielofon, literally.
- 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.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- 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.
- Creepy Basement: In the abandoned house.
- Cult Classic: Mainstream back when it was released, but today and in the world overall it is a cult classic.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The book has the Rat using his shapeshifting for actor work.
- Dawson Casting: Averted.
- 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.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Alisa chasing after Kolya.
- Dynamic Entry: The pirates crash their flying car into the doors of the Time Institute.
- Encyclopedia Exposita: The inventory chamber.
- Everything Sensor: The inventory chamber.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs don't like the pirates very much.
- Fan Sequel: Гостья из будущего-2 (Guest from the Future 2), in which a now-teenaged Alisa comes from the future and asks Kolya to help her fight Harry Potter, who is in fact a robot from the future who came to the beginning of the 21st century to stupefy people. They fight Harry Potter, destroy his transmitter, and then fix the world by driving a Cool Car Time Machine that returns things to the way they were in the 1980s. See it here.
- Flying Car
- The Future: 2084.
- Getting Crap Past The Mielofon:
"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."
- Heroic Sacrifice: Werther.
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Hot Mom: Kolya's mother. We only see her in a couple of scenes, but she barely looks 30.
- Hugh Mann: The pirates' disguises are not perfect.
- Junior High: School 20.
- Kansas City Shuffle
- Leitmotif: Alisa's theme "Prekrasnoe Daleko," the pulsating time-travel music, and the pirates' bumbling theme.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis
- MacGuffin: The Mielofon.
- 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.
- Mind Reading: The power of the Mielofon.
- Moe Couplet: Alisa and Yulia.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal
- Mundane Utility: There are portals that are used for public transit around Moscow, and the time machines are built around similar principles.
- Museum of the Strange and Unusual: The Time Institute.
- 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.
- Nu Speling: Averted Trope.
- 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.
- Portal Network
- The Power of Friendship
- 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.
- Ray Gun: Used by the pirates on Werther.
- 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
- 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.
- Shapeshifting: The ability of the pirates.
- Alisa recalls Alice in Wonderland, except that here it is the boy who falls into the wonderland. Kind of fitting, considering that her name is rendered the same in Russian as that of Lewis Carroll's Alice.
- The time travel sequence looks like the voyage into The Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- The time machine in the old house is disguised as a wardrobe and doors lead to other places.
- The chamber of the time machine is white and Bigger on the Inside.
- Fima worries what will happen if Kolya, having seen the future, could create a Temporal Paradox.
- Werther is an intelligent but gloomy robot who cares about people and wants to be more human.
- Six-Student Clique
- The Head: Kolya Gerasimov.
- The Muscle: Kolya Sadovsky.
- The Quirk: Fima Korolev.
- The Pretty One: Albina Fetisova or Lena Dombazova.
- The Smart One: Yulia Gribkova.
- The Wild One: Alisa Selezneva.
- 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.
- Space Pirates
- 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.
- Technology Porn
- Terminator Twosome: Alisa (good) and pirates (evil).
- Theme Music Power-Up
- Theme Song Assonance: The opening notes to "Prekrasnoe Daleko" sound like "Alisa Seleznyova, Alisa Seleznyova..."
- Time Travel
- To the Pain: The pirates threaten this to Kolya.
- Totally Radical: Averted. The children speak pretty much like any kids who are 12 or 13.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia
- Developing Doomed Characters: Averted Trope. The plot starts off very quickly, and the scenes of characters arguing have been cut down from the book. See Pragmatic Adaptation above.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The pirates.
- Wall Crawl: Jolly U climbs the walls of an apartment building to get away from a dog.
- We Can Rule Together: The pirates suggest this to Kolya.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The time-travel sequence in particular.
- Where Are They Now: The actors.
- Natalia Guseva (Alisa) acted in a few more films, but later became a scientist and had a daughter named Alesya.
- Alexei Fomkin (Kolya) acted in some movies and theater, but died when his apartment burned.
- Maria Ionesyan (Yulia) studied philosophy and emigrated to the USA, where she is now a business consultant.
- Vyacheslav Nevinny (Jolly U) died from complications from diabetes.
- Mikhail Kononov (Rat) died after a long illness.
- Georgi Burkov (Doctor Alik Borisovich) died of thrombosis.
- Semyon Buzgan (Kolya Sadovsky) moved to Israel and now owns a video store.
- Inna Churkina (one of the schoolgirls at the Kosmodrome) is now known as Inna Gomes, actress and fashion model.
- White Void Room
- 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.
- X Meets Y: Guest From the Future is a Lighter and Softer mix of Terminator, Back to The Future, and Alice in Wonderland.
- You Shall Not Pass: Werther tries to stop the pirates, but they pull out a blaster and shoot him.