May 1991: Soviet cosmonaut Serghei Krikalev flies away to the MIR orbital station, which he will occupy for ten months under the eye of four cameras. On his return, the Soviet empire disappeared, exploded, dismantled. During his sojourn in space, so to speak outside the present, one era was extinguished, another was born. Thus Krikalev became the first cosmonaut to carry out a mission for a country that has ceased to exist! In parallel to Krikalev's odyssey, the director recounts the events that led to Moscow's putsch...
Moscow, August 1991. Boris Yeltsin takes power after the failed coup d' état ultras. Meanwhile, a few hundred kilometers from the earth, the cosmonauts of Mir Station see their mission extended for mysterious reasons. Some go back to earth, others take over. Finally, one of them, Krikalev, remains on board alone. He will have spent ten months in space..."What do you think of all these political changes? asked the journalists with whom he communicates daily. He stays silent, thoughtful. He is elsewhere, in another History,"out of the present".
It is this unique experience that Out of the present retraces. Without stars or special effects like Apollo 13 or The Fabric of Heroes. Everything here is true. And from the first images, we take off. A 35mm camera was sent into space to bring back amazing views of the station's exterior, a base of more than 100 tons, revolving around the earth. The rest of the film is taken from some two hundred and eighty hours of video footage shot by the cosmonauts themselves. We are witnessing the arrival and departure of several cargo ships, which come to refuel the team, as a delivery man would ring your doorbell. We share this life in weightlessness and its peculiarities. The drink is put into a ball, like Captain Haddock's whisky, in On a marche sur la Lune. Every haircut requires a mower connected to a vacuum cleaner.
And then, in front of these strange, soothing images of our old planet that we can see in the distance, time suddenly seems to have stopped. The "silence of these infinite spaces" which frightened Pascal, has nothing more to worry about. It's the merit of this fascinating documentary: for ninety-two minutes, the exact length of a rotation of the station around the earth, we hover.