Part One, "Niya:an artificial human" opens with a human exploratory vessel discovering an alien wreck in space. The ship doesn't match anything in their space atlas and doesn't respond to hails. Boarding it, the crew discovers dead bodies, some in pods, and one survivor, a female. She remembers nothing but her name, Niya. The commander, Sergei, takes the sullen, nearly mute Niya to the Council on Contacts, which isn't sure what to make of her. When a member tries to touch the young woman, he's repelled as if by a force field or telekinesis. This moves another member to observe, "This girl has the strength of a robot!" The council decides that Niya should acclimate herself to Earth as a guest at the dacha of Sergei's family, the Lebedevs, while council member Nadezhda Ivanova will observe and perform tests on her.
Niya (Yelena Metyolkina) reportedly set fashions for late-Soviet teenage girls in the 1980s. Below, in the future, it's the aliens who get probed.
Niya is understandably distressed by her sudden immersion in alien culture. Frightened by grass, she only slowly grows friendly if not entirely comfortable. She'll go out for a run or a tumble only to get freaked out by flowers or something else that triggers a partial memory of her past; then she'll run into the house and hide in a closet. Things get out of hand when Stepan, who is obviously cultivating a crush on Niya, brings home his girlfriend Selena, who is instantly jealous. Embarrassments pile up as Niya confusedly throws her clothes off at the beach, only to be ordered to put them back on by Nadezhda Ivanova, who has found a remote control receptor in Niya's brain. Initially apologetic to Selena, Niya abruptly decides that "you should not be" and is about to "carrie" her off a cliff before Nadezhda Ivanova gives a counter-order. Finding this plight intolerable, Niya throws herself off the cliff, but Stepan fetches her out of the water.
I don't often run nudie shots as blatant as this one of Niya (left), but I include this one with the note that To the Stars actually won an award for children's filmmaking.
Eventually, the arrival of diplomats from the planet Dessa triggers more memories. The planet happens to be her homeworld, and Stepan just happens to be making his maiden flight there. Niya stows away, confusing an old-time service robot, Crocodile, by her ability to teleport and leave Niya-shaped outlines behind. Crocodile looks like an overweight Cylon (original series) and needs to be inflated when he runs low on energy.
Fortunately, the film itself is about to hit its stride in the second part, which takes place on Dessa itself -- a planet ravaged by generations of pollution to the brink of complete ecological collapse. While Dessa has called for help from advanced planets like Earth, a powerful faction actually opposes human intervention. Led by the sinister Turanchoks, this capitalist clique has exploited the air-quality crisis by commodifying oxygen. They're suspicious of the humans, whom they accuse of an imperialist agenda of remaking Dessa in their image. They sow distrust of the humans and Niya among the rabble, many of whom where Beneath the Planet of the Apes-style masks to hide disfigurements and project an air of general happiness. As the humans make progress in cleaning the planet, Turanchoks takes more desperate steps. He's also figured out Niya's weakness -- her susceptibility to remote control -- and he intends to use it to destroy her and the human spaceship.
With Niya now under his control, Turanchok seems to have the upper hand. However, he never bothered checking whether his former minion had died. Ignored, the victim crawls through corridors until he reaches the lab where Niya's creator had been working on a biomass project. It had been this noble scientist's hope that the biomass, infused with human intelligence, could clean up the planet on its own. For now, mindless, the biomass is a seething, bubbing mass of blecch that the moribund minion releases to avenge him. Set loose mindlessly, the biomass is not only a nemesis for Turanchoks but a threat to the entire planet and the humans on it. It might smother them all in slop if Niya can't come to her senses and use her amazing abilities when they'd count the most....