APOLLO: MISSIONS TO THE MOON
Grimaldi Forum 2019
An archival-driven exploration of NASA’s Apollo program.
One of several nonfiction projects commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s success in the Space Race, Tom Jenning’s doc takes an expansive view, focusing not just on that 1969 mission, but instead covering the range of the Apollo space program from 1961 until 1972. Eschewing talking heads for a more dramatic, lived-in viewer experience, the film is well constructed using archival video, audio, and photographic footage, from contemporary media reports, official NASA documentation, and home movies. Though it’s arguable that there’s really a need for quite so many space-focused docs at the same time – while this one does offer a good overview, so too does PBS’s upcoming CHASING THE MOON, albeit via more conventional storytelling – these projects all serve as a welcome reminder of a time when this nation’s government embraced the world of science rather than disparaged it, and found the political will to work together to tackle a seemingly insurmountable challenge.