Remember when the whole world looked up? I was lucky to see an advanced screening of a documentary film that was produced on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In The Shadow of the Moon (2007) tells the story of NASA's exploration of space in the 1960s through the words of the astronauts themselves. Blending rare and remastered archival footage with intimate, reflective conversations with most of the surviving Apollo astronauts, the film brings us closer than ever to their historic experience of space travel. Back on earth, of course, the world was going through turmoil. Norman Mailer criticized the space program in Of a Fire on the Moon, saying: "The astronauts were the core of some magnetic human force called Americanism, Protestantism, or WASPitude... They were the knights of the Silent Majority, the WASP emerging from human history in order to take us to the stars." There was certainly a political imperative in Kennedy's challenge to be the first nation to put a man on the moon- a big-budget continuation of Nixon's "kitchen" debate with Khrushchev? For an interesting look at the space program, nationalism, and the times, check out Atomic Cafe (1982), For All Mankind (1989), Double Take (2009- includes a Hitchcock impersonator!), and Spike Magazine Mailer article here. What save's David Sington's In the Shadow of the Moon is its great sincerity and focus on the experiences of the astronauts. Although the movie might be less philosophical than the documentary For All Mankind, one gets swept away by these elderly pioneers and the telling of their profound adventure- one that was ultimately, in my mind, beyond borders and ideologies. Not to mention that the space r&d of the era spawned all those advancements in new materials and made space-age fashion possible! See our articles: Mods to Moongirls and Fear and Fashion, and recent Space Camp week.
Spy Vibe is giving away a region 1/NTSC dvd copy of In the Shadow of the Moon (trailer below). To enter, just send an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "space" in the subject line. The third Spy Viber to e-mail will win the movie. We will resume transmissions after the New Year. Until then, keep looking up in wonder. Happy Holidays from Spy Vibe!