Trailer · Background Material · Pictures · Official Site · Flyer
Directed By: Rainer Erler
Cast: Horst Frank, Jürgen Prochnow, Uwe Friedrichsen, Claus-Theo Gärtner
running time: 94 Min.
“Operation Ganymed", the most ambitious and most costly project in the history of space travel, has officially been written off as a failure. After an apparently unsuccessful ,,swing by maneuver" behind Jupiter, no further contact could be established with the three spaceships and their respective seven-man crews. Both NASA and the ground stations of the USSR ceased all further search after no sign of life had been received for six months. The plenary assembly of the United Nations, under whose sponsorship this mission for peace, friendship and international understanding had taken place, stood up and observed a minute's silence before proceeding to the day's business.
But five astronauts have survived. After a flying time of 1585 days, they return to earth on schedule, successfully but unexpectedly and unannounced. For the telemetric systems, the transmission and receiving instruments for maintaining contact with the earth are still silent. The astronauts have orbited Jupiter and lost two spaceships and 14 men. They lost two of their own crew. They landed on Ganymed and found traces of primitive life. Of course, they had no possibility of reporting this sensational discovery to the ground stations.
Now the five heroes are looking forward to a triumphal reception, the end of all their hardships, a return home to security. But their return turns out to be a horror trip. Nobody is waiting for them; they have been written off. After two and a half years of radio silence, they are no longer expected. They have to make an emergency landing on a Good-forsaken spot on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Then begins a hopeless march through desolate deserts. The first village which they finally reach is deserted and in ruins. They have to go on.
Until their return to earth, crammed into a small spaceship, the crew was a functioning unit. Now, in the endless desert, it loses its feeling of coherence and breaks up. The five astronauts suffer from the torture of thirst and hunger, from spells of weakness and hallucinations. Aggressions build up and lead to violence and murder. Only one survivor manages to reach the next inhabited place.