Life Outside Frameworks
Noordung a Hundred Years Later or Titane and Small Body, Two Film Visions for a Time When the Problem Is Not Space Travel But Survival on Earth
The importance of Noordung’s idea that man could travel through space stemmed from the belief that scientific and technological development contributes to the well-being of all humanity. One hundred years after Noordung, the problems of space travel have been solved, yet life on earth is becoming increasingly impossible. The so-called progress has depleted not only natural resources but also people. With exhausted, torn-up bodies, terrified of impending disasters and the eternal end, they need a vision just like the people that lived at the time of the great world crisis in the wake of which Herman Potočnik Noordung wrote The Problem of Space Travel. The article analyses two contemporary films, Titane (2021) and Small Body (Piccolo corpo, 2021), which belong to two different genres and aesthetics and are set in two different historical moments. We show that, regardless of their differences, they share surprising similarities. In their radical understanding of life, they both relate to cosmonautics and its trust in the adaptive abilities of the human body, but offer a radically different solution. The titanium ball and the stillborn body, which the heroines Alexia and Agata keep pressed to their chests, are morbid depictions of the end of life, they are the end itself. But their determination to breathe life into these dark fruits of their bodies by bonding with others, within the community, could be a sign that the time of monsters, foretold by Noordung’s contemporary Antonio Gramsci, is over. Is the new ready to be born?
The integral version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!