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IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON

Director: DAVID SINGTON

U.K.-U.S.A. • 2007 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 100 MIN


IT’S SUCH A STAGGERINGLY SIMPLE IDEA, IT’S A WONDER NO-ONE’S THOUGHT OF IT BEFORE. GATHER THE REMAINING ASTRONAUTS WHO WALKED ON THE MOON AND ASK THEM HOW IT FELT TO SEE THE EARTH UP IN THE SKY.
Add the astronauts’ unique personal reflections to newly available images from the NASA archives, much of it actually shot on board the Apollo missions, and you have a magical documentary. For anyone who remembers the grainy TV pictures from the moon landings, the pristine clarity of the images is so astounding you have to keep telling yourself they’re not special effects: this is real. Men did indeed walk on the moon, with only late ’60s technology to get them there . . . and bring them back. BBC veteran David Sington’s first feature is more than just a dramatically involving record of the space race, fuelled by loyalty to the slain JFK’s Russian-beating ambitions. It’s also a film about how America’s success, bought at no little human cost, became mankind’s achievement too— thanks to the global television audience sharing Neil Armstrong’s ‘one small step for man’. Armstrong himself is a notable absentee here, preferring to spread the limelight and exemplify a group accomplishment. Yet the film’s throwing the focus back on what it means to observe the Earth from orbit could hardly be more relevant. Seeing the fragility of their planet in the vastness of the cosmos has inspired all the astronauts to treasure their home just that bit more—a message which tellingly chimes with the environmental challenges of our own era. —Trevor Johnston.

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