In the Shadow of the Moon | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

In the Shadow of the Moon

The surviving Apollo astronauts recast dusty history into a vivid story of ordinary men doing extraordinary things.

In July 1969, America -- and much of the world -- held its collective breath during an arguably singular live TV event: man walking on the moon. (In our house, a television set was rented just for this moment.) Certainly the impact of that feat has faded with today's ordinariness of manned spacecraft. But David Sington 's documentary also suggests that the era's optimism and can-do drive has been lost as well. Eight of the nine surviving Apollo astronauts (Neil Armstrong didn't participate) retell the story of various moon trips, augmented with news footage and rare archival NASA films (some of which is so incredible that you have to remind yourself: This is not a sci-fi film). Shadow's strength is to let the astronauts simply talk, recasting this dusty scientific history into a vivid story of ordinary men doing extraordinary things. The former moon-men are an articulate and mostly jovial bunch, their square-jawed military stiffness mellowed with age. They are less touched by their technical or heroic achievement than by an odd fragment of it: Among all men, they alone have stood elsewhere and looked upon our home planet -- a distant blue orb so tiny that it can disappear behind an astronaut's outstretched thumb. Starts Fri., Sept. 28.

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