Eolomea is one of those examples of science fiction that seems to have been created (mostly) by people outside of the genre (and since we’re talking about an East German/Soviet/Bulgarian science fiction movie, that means the outside of the other side of the genre, so we’re a long way from home here) and yet managed to be just as pro-space exploration as most of the gung-ho examples. But Eolomea does this in a way that you’re, at least for a long stretch of the movie, not sure whether it criticizes exactly what it later upholds.
Due to a number of spaceships gone missing in solar space, space travel has been suspended. One lead to the solution of the mystery are morse signals from the far away Cygni constellation that constitute the word Eolomea. While this usually indicates that there’s a high concept at the core of the plot that explains both the signals and the disappearances, it turns out to be something different though still entirely SFnal.
There’s no hastily mounted rescue mission for the missing spaceships, no daring action plan. It’s more a character study of two people who stand at the center of these events and how they experience human space activity. There are moments where you get the feeling the movie makers wanted to do anything else but science fiction, though I think that’s more an artifact of the stuff they usually did (some scenes feel completely out of place in the movie).
The ambiguity about whether the movie calls for an end of human space activity is cleared in the end, but the movie still makes me wonder if there have been people on the stuff with widely different opinions on this, and all those opinions actually found their way in the end product. That Eolomea remains coherent and cohesive despite these contrary impulses is owed to its skill in showing these exact same contradictions in the characters it depicts, who manage to make decision without the need to fall down on either side of the equation.
If the movie shows anything, its that like all human endeavors space exploration is an extension of ourselves, guided by complex motivations and full of paradoxes under the surface.