Broadcast this Sunday evening on France 2, “First Man – the first man on the Moon” was at the heart of a small controversy even before its theatrical release. At issue: the absence, in Damien Chazelle’s film, of an iconic scene.
The feature film First Man, released in theaters in 2018, looks back at the fascinating story of NASA’s mission to send a man to the moon, with a particular focus on astronaut Neil Armstrong, played onscreen by Ryan Gosling. A work that was the subject of a small controversy across the Atlantic after its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Broadcast this Sunday evening on France 2, First Man was indeed criticized by some Americans for having ignored an iconic scene in history. The moment in question? The world famous one who saw astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin plant the American flag on lunar soil on July 21, 1969.
Marc Rubio, senator from Florida, is one of those who has been most vehement on the subject. “It’s pure madness”, he declared on social networks. “This is a disservice in an age when people need to remember what we are capable of accomplishing when we work together. The Americans paid for this mission, it was rockets paid for by the Americans. , with American technology and American astronauts. It was not a UN mission. “
In a press release relayed by the Deadline site, director Damien Chazelle responded to these criticisms. “In First Man, I show the American flag planted on the lunar soil, but the flag planted physically on the surface is one of the few moments of the mission that I decided not to focus on.”, says the filmmaker. “When asked if this was a political message, the answer is no.”
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Damien Chazelle then clarifies his thoughts: “My goal with this film was to share with audiences invisible and unknown aspects of the US mission to the moon, especially Neil Armstrong’s journey and what he must have thought and felt during those famous hours.”
Also in a separate press release relayed by Deadline, sons of Neil Armstrong as well as James R. Hansen, the author of the book that inspired the feature film, supported the filmmaker’s bias. For them, First Man is a work “which focuses on things from Neil’s trip to the Moon that you haven’t seen or might not remember.”
Meeting with the film crew and CNES experts with nOur report “First Man: The Great Apollo 11 Adventure”: