The cinematic flights to the Moon have taken various forms over the hundred years of cinematography history. Georges Méliès, the pioneer of silent film, created his fantastic vision of our natural satellite in A Trip to the Moon back in 1902. On 24 July 1969, the dream of landing on the Moon has become a reality.
In 1995, director Ron Howard filmed the riveting yet failed mission of the Apollo 13 crew. The new millennium saw, for example, the lonely odyssey of Sam Rockwell entitled Moon (2009) in which, under the direction of Duncan Jones, his only company on the Moon is the computer voice of Kevin Spacey. Now, the film about the First Man who actually landed on the Moon surface is coming to the cinemas…
The story of Neil Armstrong was taken on by one of the most progressive contemporary Hollywood filmmakers Damien Chazelle. At only the age of 33, he already won an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for the La La Land musical (2016). After two musical films (apart from the aforementioned, the drumming drama Whiplash, 2014), he steps on the tricky terrain of a real story for the first time. The same goes for Ryan Gosling playing Armstrong. He has gained his popularity thanks to his roles of fictional characters; it’s his first time portraying an actual historical figure. On the contrary, Claire Foy playing Sharon, Armstrong’s wife, has rich experience with biographies thanks to her role of the British queen Elizabeth II in The Crown series.
The story is based on Neil Armstrong’s authorised biography entitled First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen and was adapted into a screenplay by the Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer. We follow the young Armstrong as he started working at NASA in the early 60s, which was his first step on the journey to the Moon. Nearly two and a half hour long film is not only about the iconic Apollo 11 flight. It is also a thorough re-enactment of the Apollo space programme seen from the perspective of the main character, and a modest drama about Armstrong’s family, its support, and legitimate fear.
The First Man opened this year’s Venice Film Festival, the entire delegation of creators was at the Toronto International Film Festival. Since the presence at these festivals, the film is winning critical acclaim. The 11 October is the date when the entire world can find out how the adaptation of the one of the most iconic stories of the 20th century went. The film is already in the short list of the Oscar ceremony frontrunners. Gosling could win his first Academy Award, Chazelle could expand his Oscar collection, and who knows? The odds for the main award may be in his favour this year as opposed to the – now legendary – loss two years ago…
Author: Tomáš Poštulka
Editor: Nikol Láryšová