The moon has held people’s fascination even before the earliest caveman discovered fire. That lonely, lovely orb has accompanied our planet to hell and back but it was only in the year 1971, two years after Apollo 11 landed the first men on the moon, that a day was named in honour of our dearest neighbour.
Here’s a list of 5 movies that cinematically celebrate our fascination with the moon:
1. Distance of the Moon (2012)
Based on a short story by Italo Calvino, this animated short film brings out the whimsical magic of the acclaimed Italian writer with quiet surrealism. The story, set in a time when the moon was much closer to the earth, features four improbable protagonists who could reach the lunar surface through a ladder hoisted from their boat adrift in the sea. Their mission? To collect precious moon-milk. This is not just a fantastic journey but also a tender observation of unrequited love and our position in the big, wide cosmos.
2. Tubelight ka Chand (2011)
Tubelight, an urchin living a hard life on the streets of Calcutta, craves to touch the moon, a desire that can also be seen as a metaphor for seeking warmth and light in a moody, dark city. This Indian production is a delightful short film that explores a child’s perspective and effort to create his own tangible moon by stealing bulbs from the city’s households. Soon, the thievery attracts attention from the media and cops. Tubelight sets up an installation of stolen bulbs on a roof and enjoys a few, brief minutes of joy before things go downhill and the cops catch up. However, the heart-warming story doesn’t end on a sordid note and you can watch the whole thing here.
3. Moon (2009)
One of those movies that flew under the general audience radar, Moon is a sci-fi drama that tells the story of Sam Bell, a man employed on contract with a lunar mining company. He is working in isolation with no direct communication link back to Earth. Towards the end of his 3-year contract, something goes wrong with the mining machine and as he steps outside the base to investigate, Sam discovers a few things that weren’t meant to be. We will leave you to decipher the suspense by watching this brilliant film, which scarily enough, predicts modern reality.
4. In the Shadow of the Moon (2007)
Following NASA’s manned missions to the moon, this British documentary traces the Apollo program’s origins, evolution and ultimate triumphs through archival footage and personal insights gathered from modern-day interviews with the less-than-a-dozen, surviving lunar astronauts. The one voice that remains unheard in this documentary is of Neil Armstrong (he refused to participate in any interviews), which is a bit of loss to science enthusiasts. However, what sets this film apart is the research, which involved examining hours of unseen NASA footage that was digitally remastered to provide a spellbinding experience of the lunar surface, Earth and mankind’s giant leap into the age of space travel.
5. A Trip to the Moon a.k.a. Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902)
The first movie ever made about our bright neighbour, Georges Melies’ masterpiece displays his technical wizardry in early special effects and science fiction that continued to inspire cinema decades later. The silent film tells the story of a bunch of astronomers who travel to the moon in a capsule, hurled from a cannon. Delightful, endearing and brimming with art-direction genius, this classic inspired a ’90s Smashing Pumpkins video and rightfully deserves to be appreciated more in our times for its innocent simplicity.
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