25 March 2010

For All Mankind

I need desperately to be in bed, but I have to say something about the film I watched. For anyone who doesn't know, For All Mankind was a documentary made in 1989 collecting all the footage shot by and around astronauts and engineers during all the manned missions to the Moon and back, edited as though one long, seamless journey there and back again and set mostly to diegetic sound and recordings of the astronauts and engineers discussing their experience. It's captivating.

I don't know what else to say. I've seen it twice now, and it's just hypnotizing. Clearly I watched it this time prepping myself for some astronaut writing, but the incidentally abstract, gorgeous photography of the actual journeys... I know that one day I will shoot my astronaut love story (and if not that, another astronaut film), and this will be my prime reference material for the DP. It's just casually intimate in a way no fictional film has ever tried. Real space remains so much more mysterious and magical than all of science fiction's space somehow.

I'm betraying my bias here, clearly, but to anyone passingly curious about or excited by astronauts or the journeys to the moon, this film is the number one must-see. (And if that's you: it's on Criterion, so it's easy to get.)

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