“Teenagers in Space” (?????? ?? ?????????) is a 1974 Soviet children’s sci-fi film about evil robots. In the film, a group of clean-cut teenage “pioneers” embark to a distant planet in the Cassiopeia constellation. There, they discover that robots have taken over the planet and enslaved the humans with one intention – to make their masters happy, as the robots understood happiness.
In one memorable scene, stylish robots offer to give the young cosmonauts a “Happiness Makeover.” In the futuristic operating room, sleek white sarcofagi encase the teens while robots calibrate the machine to erase their feelings of love, sorrow, shame and self-doubt. It turns out that their robots’ understanding of happiness is the satisfactions of basic needs, and the elimination of all “disturbing” emotions.
The teens learn that a small group of humans had escaped from the “Great Enhappening” and that their descendants have been orbiting the planet for generations. Together, they figure out a way to bring down the robots’ oppressive regime.
The film is available in its entirety on YouTube, but perhaps the best way for an English-speaking audience to experience the film is through the video below, which combines footage of the film with Kraftwerk’s “Robots.” See below.