Humanoid Woman (1981)
Article 5875 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Richard Viktorov and Nikolay Viktorov
Featuring Yelena Metyolkina, Vadim Ledogorov, Uldis Lieldidzs
Country: Soviet Union
What it is: Arty outer space adventure
The only survivor found on a derelict spaceship is brought to Earth and stays with a family. She has lost her memory, but she’s a clone with strange powers. What is her story and what will be her fate?
The English version of this movie is difficult and confusing, and has a fragmented story-telling style. It also runs only ninety minutes, where according to IMDB, it’s original running time is closer to two and a half hours. This means a good hour of the movie is missing, and perhaps that is why it feels so fragmented. Still, the movie gets away with it during the first half on the strength of Yelena Metyolina’s performance as Niyya, the title character; she imbues her character with a fascinating alienness that is gripping. However, once the action shifts to her home planet, the story mostly involves political intrigues, and here the fragmented style becomes a major annoyance. Reportedly, there’s a restored version out there somewhere, and perhaps that’s an improvement. Based on the print I saw, though, I feel it’s more an interesting failure rather than a success.