Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, July 5: STAR MEN
Alison Rose’s chronicle of a reunion of astronomers made its debut at Sheffield last year. Screenings followed at CPH:DOX, Cambridge, RIDM, Cork, and Docville, among other events.
Driven by the Cold War’s space race, astronomy was a high priority in 1960s America, and resulted in the recruitment of international experts to US universities like CalTech. Five such British astronomers bonded on a research trip through the deserts of the Southwest, visiting observatories, and now, fifty years later, the four surviving friends decide to recreate that journey. Amiable and intelligent, the four titular star men reminiscence about the past and what inspired their course of study, while also offering a sensitive consideration of aging and mortality, even if the road trip structure seems more of a distraction than an appropriate vehicle through which to really focus on their lifelong passion for the stars. Laying this aside, what truly hampers the project is the unfortunate presence of the filmmaker both within the space of the film, and, most unnecessarily, as its narrator.