Close Up

18 July 2016: Take Two: A Trip to the Moon / For All Mankind

Two days before the anniversary of the first man landed on the moon, we revisit how imagination and reality were conveyed in two films that illustrated and documented our relationship to the moon.

A Trip to the Moon
George Méliès
1902 | 16 min | Tinted | Digital

Originally released in 1902, this legendary 16-minute film is widely considered to be one of the most important works in film history. Created just six years after the invention of cinema this is where narrative cinema truly began. George Méliès's masterpiece features six members of the Astronomers' Club, fired into space by a giant cannon, on a strange and wonderful journey to the moon to meet its inhabitants. The colour version of A Trip to the Moon, hand-painted frame by frame, was considered lost for many years, until a print, in a desperate condition, was found in Spain in 1993. It is this version which has been meticulously restored – one of the most sophisticated and expensive restorations in the history of cinema.

For All Mankind
Al Reinert
1989 | 80 min | Colour | Digital

In July 1969, the space race ended when Apollo 11 fulfilled President Kennedy’s challenge of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." No one who witnessed the lunar landing will ever forget it. Al Reinert’s documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who travelled to the moon, told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences. Forty years after the first moon landing, it remains the most radical, visually dazzling work of cinema yet made about this earthshaking event.