The recent news reports of The Galactic Federation makes the Icarus Films Dec. 1, 2020 DVD release of the 2019 documentary "Space Dogs" especially apt. It make one Siriusly wonder both if those brothers from another planet are natives of the dog star and if they offer the astromutts treats and walkies. The only criticism of "Dogs" is that it is not titled "Far Out Space Mutts" as an homage to the Krofft '70s-era Saturday morning series "Far Out Space Nuts."
A warning as to the latter is that you never will be able to resist saying "I said lunch, not launch!" when referring to your midday meal after watching the show.
One also must wonder if the seven festival awards for the documentary equal 49 trophies from the perspective of a dog. These accolades include two wins at the 2019 Locarno International Film Festival and an especially well-deserved cinematography award at the 2020 Diagonale Austria event.
The following trailer easily achieves its objective of creating interest in the film while keeping spoilers to a minimum. The inclusion of the opening exposition of "Dogs" on the fate of the fate of pioneer astromutt a street dog named Laika provides a good sense of the bittersweet tone of this sad-but-true tale.
A primary context in this film that documents the activities of the stray canines that freely roam throughout Moscow is the legend that Laika, who makes the ultimate sacrifice in the name in science, haunts those streets and joins her peers in their adventures. Watching these semi-feral cuties engage in friendly and not-so-friendly activity alone would make a good film. A tragic spoiler is that at least one kitty is killed in the making of the film.
Filmmakers Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter use the story of Laika as the starting point for the history of the expanded use of street dogs in the Russian space program. The black-and-white archival footage of the tortures that these victims endure provides an intentional stark contrast to the color scenes of their peers on the outside. The inhumane experiments evoke thoughts of the Borg of "Trek" lore transforming formerly free-thinking pure organic beings into cyborg drones. This is not to mention the lab dogs involuntarily being strapped into centrifuges and other training equipment that their human counterparts willingly use to prepare for their space travel.
Kremser and Peter additionally document the story of the monkey, who comes to be only known as "Number 65," who is the first primate to go into space. The ensuing reasonable PTSD is just as heartbreaking as the experience of the titular captives.
It is imagined that the two turtles that also go into space do not fare much better than Number 65 and the dogs. Aside from those heroes on the half shell not being as well equipped as the others to communicate their pain and distress, the mythological aspect of choosing that species for that research is interesting.
Icarus augments this with a "behind-the-scenes" video.