In this film by Grigory Alexandov, a young woman named Marion Dixon (perhaps a play on the Mason Dixon line) joins a Russian circus after being forced to flee her American hometown after the townspeople discover that her son is black. She performs a daring routine called “The Flight to the Moon” which the manager of the circus, Ludvig, wishes to imitate with his own daughter, Raya. One night when Mary is performing, Ludvig shows her act to Ivan Martinov, a performance director. He feels immediately attracted to her and they fall in love. When she has to return to America, she protests, wanting to stay with him. Due to a mixup with the letter she writes for him, he believes she is in love with another man and refuses to say goodbye to her. She tells him the truth and they do the “new” act, “The Flight to the Stratosphere”. She accepts a deal with the manager to be paid in rubles and as he tells her that “in our country, we love all kids”, the audience understands that she is going to stay in the Soviet Union with her family.
One cinematic scene in the film which is meant to show the divide between the young and old in Russia is when Ivan and Mary first meet and her corrupt agent, Kneishitz, spies on them through the window. The camera cuts between Kneishitz and Ivan so the audience notes the stark differences in their faces. Ivan is young, blonde, and strong-jawed while Kneishitz is unshaven, dark, and sinister. Through this portrayal of the young and old in the performance business, Alexandrov is making the point that we should look to the young people of Russia, as the next generation is our future and hope.
Why were people so much more accepting in the USSR, given our nationalist and ethnicity readings? What would have become of Marion and her child had she chosen to return to America?