50 years later, the conquest of the Moon has still not finished to make dream the Man and the filmmakers. After First Man (Damien Chazelle), which came out last October, it is the turn of Apollo 11 to land in the dark rooms. Screened as a world premiere at Sundance last January, the documentary from Todd Miller was released Friday in the United States. It is not yet planned in France. The film offers a “treasure” of unpublished images from the national Archives in the us that have allowed the filmmaker to show in a new light, one of the most amazing testimonies of the power of human ingenuity”.

images shot in large formats

The first shots of the trailer are breathtaking. A document in color and in large format showing the tracks of the gigantic carrier of Nasa, filling the screen. The spacecraft carries the rocket Saturn, which will launch astronauts. Released for the first time, these images are part of a series of 177 bands in the format of 65 mm, as Dan Rooney, supervisor of the section films of the national Archives, in a storage site, refrigerated to 4 degrees Celsius, at College Park, opened in 1993.

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“We knew that these large formats existed, but it took a lot of research work to understand what it was exactly”, told AFP the archivist, who has worked with the filmmaker to exploit this treasure. The tapes were poorly labeled without detail, sometimes with the only indication “Apollo 11”. “The real discovery was to obtain new information on the content and quality of the material,” says Dan Rooney.

Nasa had used the large format for film ground operations at the Kennedy space center, and on the ship that recovered the three astronauts at the end of the mission: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Initially, the rocket is a long shot of top-down big plan, giving an overview of its size out of the ordinary. We also get to see the astronauts back into silence as their combinations. At the time, the cameramen also filmed the anxious waiting of the thousands of anonymous, lying on the beaches of Cocoa Beach, family, binoculars in hand.

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In the room of ignition, the images of a row of engineers, all, with few exceptions, men in white shirts and black ties to the mine’s serious. They contrast with those of the control rooms of current, more feminized, Nasa and SpaceX. As for the images of smaller formats, which are turned to Apollo and the Moon, in particular by astronauts with hand-held cameras, many of them were already on YouTube. The team of 25 national archivists, specialized on the film continues to scan the bands rediscovered, in order to make them public. Dan Rooney believes to have discovered all the bands Apollo 11 in possession of the Archives, but warns: “I can’t certify that there is no other way.

The space will be on the program of the Big Bang, Eco, Maison de la chimie in Paris, on march 27, 2019, from 9h to 17h30

” check out the 3rd edition of 2019