Gerard Mensah Case studies

Case Study 1

For all mankind – (1989) Al Reinert        


The documentary takes the audience on a journey of the Apollo missions from the perspective of the astronauts from 1968 -1972.

The film starts with the image of the moon and the President proclaiming “we choose to go the moon, we choose to go to the moon” to a rapturous applause.

For my research I have been looking at the reasons behind man’s need to travel in particular mans reasons to travel to the moon.

In the documentary the relationship between image and sound is edited so at times we hear interviews but we never see the people in real time doing the interview. This adds to the dramatic effect of the film with these stunning images of: a rocket taken off, earths view from space and the moons bumps and craters close up.

The astronauts try and paint a picture of the men behind the suit in this case the space suit. Most of the astronauts were also in the Royal Air Forces or the Navy, they explained that they found it hard to express emotions because of the training, environment etc. when these men are in space they realize how important and privileged they are to be representing mankind on these important missions and we see they are real people who let their guard down and we see them express fear, joy, anticipation.

Towards the end of the film we hear a quote from one of the astronauts on Apollo 15 “I realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature man must explore.


It seems that it is in our nature to travel “if its there why not go and explore” seems to be motto

“We cosmonauts are like sailors. Sailors long for the high sea, and no sooner do they have solid ground beneath their feet than they’re already dream of heading out again.” Pg 48: Ujica


Case study 2

Moon – (2009) Duncan Jones


“Moon” is a science fiction film telling the story of the protagonist (Sam Bell) living on the dark side of the moon on a 3 year mission readying himself to come back home to reality to be with his wife and child on Earth. We later find out this is all an illusion and Sam Bell is one of many clones who has a memory implant and every few months or years (it’s hard to say) is replaced by another clone that wakes up with the illusion of heading back home in a few weeks or days.


The film is set in a space station on the moon where Sam works for a corporation that provides 70% of the earths clean energy he lives with a talking robot called Gerty who is Sam’s helper and Sam’s only friend on the moon.

One of the first things we hear within the first minute of the film is the statement “The power of the moon the power of our future” this sets the tone for the movie, the excitement and romanticism of travelling to and living on the moon. In reality the protagonist is trapped in a literal and figurative bubble the former being the space station he is in, being controlled by this big corporation that has already sent Sam home to his wife and child probably many years ago whether it was a clone or the “real” Sam we don’t know. The latter being Sam living in a fantasy thinking he’ll return to earth. Sam is sent pre recorded videos of messages from his wife and child which are played on repeat for each Sam that enters the space station after the previous one has been destroyed.


The film starts to build tension around the 20th minute when Sam suspects something isn’t right and goes against orders by leaving the space station and discovering another Sam. The relationship between the two Sam’s is an interesting journey we see them struggle with notions of who is the ‘real’ Sam, are there any more of us on thus space station, will we ever get home, are we being lied to.





Moon (2009) Duncan Jones U.S.A


For all mankind (1989) Al Reinert


In the Shadow of the moon (2007) David Sington





Science News , Vol. 96, No. 4 (Jul,1969),

On the Moon pp. 72-75

Society for Science & the Public


Sergei Krikalev, Andrei Ujica and Sara Ogger

(Winter, 2003),

Toward the End of Gravity I

Grey Room, No. 10 pp. 46-57

The MIT Press






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