Sunday, 26 December 2010

[417] For All Mankind, in Film International 8.5

I'm currently in Manchester for a few festive days, but as I was getting ready to leave London, the following fell through my letterbox.

A real surprise! It's the new issue of Film International magazine, with my essay-length piece on Al Reinert's 1988 collage film / documentary For All Mankind. As seems to be the deal with FilmInt, I had no idea that the article was going to be in the magazine. I submitted it earlier this year, and was worried it was lost. Looking back, I'm actually quite proud of it, even if it's mostly me hammering the 'space is ace!' angle. But I'm always thankful for their editorial approach, where deadlines for DVD reviews are often 6 months after receipt. It gives you ample time to stretch out, mull it over, and write a piece without the burden of chasing release dates or opening weekends.

For All Mankind, Al Reinert's collage film of footage from NASA's manned space flights in the 1960s and 1970s, does not so much inform as it does evoke. Upon viewing, it breaks all staid preconceptions about the Apollo programme and the space race, peeling away the layers of nostalgia in favour of communicating the first-hand wonder of a select group of men travelling to the moon. Its most immediate revelation is also its primary attribute: when Reinert started to trawl through the NASA archive, it was not common knowledge that the Apollo astronauts were supplied with 16mm cameras for their missions, and he spent years pruning the 6000 hours of footage down to For All Mankind's trim 80 minutes.

The rest of the issue looks good, although I've not yet had the time to read much of it. Of note is a movie review from Joe Ewens, of the re-assembled Metropolis, which means that two Den of Geek writers have contributed to this issue. The take-over starts now.

You can find Film International at a number of specialist stores (The ICA, The BFI shop, The Cornerhouse, maybe), and can order it online here.

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