It’s not often that a Russian film gets attention in the U.S., let alone distribution from a studio like Columbia Pictures, which makes the upcoming sci-fi alien visitation film Attraction something of a unique property. The film is set to be released in Russia along with select international markets early next year, when it will become the fourth Russian-language film to enjoy the IMAX treatment.
Directed and produced by Fedor Bondarchuk (Stalingrad), the film aims to tell a familiar story of aliens making first contact with Earth, which brings about a whole host of emotions from the people who are curious and frightened by the strange visitors.
The first trailer for the film was released not long ago, and it provided a few key yet fleeting glimpses of the aliens who emerge from the spacecraft that crash lands in Moscow. The second trailer introduced audiences to one of the film’s main human protagonists, as played by Alexander Petrov, but it didn’t really reveal more than an extra second or two of the aliens in action. This third trailer, however, is no longer playing coy.
Coming in at just over two minutes, there is plenty of alien-human interaction to see. There’s a car chase sequence (make that a Humvee chase sequence) with an alien in hot pursuit, and what appears to be a combat scene between an alien and a human character, playing upon the escalating tension between the residents of Moscow and their new extraterrestrial visitors. That said, there’s also a scene in which an alien seemingly rescues a human character, played by Irina Starshenbaum — after she fires a gun at it, no less. So the “Are they friendly, or aren’t they?” question isn’t definitely revealed (or spoiled) in the additional footage.
It’s certainly fascinating to get a glimpse of a non-English film venturing into the big budget “alien invasion” arena that has been almost the exclusive domain of Hollywood and, more broadly, English-speaking cinema, for such a long time. Director Bondarchuk does seem to be the right candidate to lead the charge. Interestingly, his previous film, Stalingrad, was the first Russian language film to be shot in IMAX format and enjoy an IMAX theatrical release, so this isn’t his first attempt at large scale, big-budget storytelling.
Whether Attraction expands beyond the usual clichés of the genre or not remains to be seen, of course. Part of the appeal of watching a foreign language film tackle a long-hallowed American genre like epic big-screen sci-fi is to see how a different cultural perspective might result in a fresh new take on a very old formula. But given how thoroughly Hollywood has dominated world cinema for so long, it’s entirely possible we’ll be reaping the seeds of storytelling homogeny that we’ve so frequently sown.
With any luck, Bondarchuk will deliver some cinematic surprises to his audience. At the very least, the trailers certainly suggest that the Russian film industry might be ready to give Hollywood a run for its money.