Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Unfettered capitalism (uncontested moon land-rights) and utopian socialism (how should lunar society function, given the inhospitable nature of space travel and colonisation) gently collide in a very entertaining and breezy documentary on our interminable fascination with the great orb. For all of mankind's existence, we've looked up at the night sky and the moon has dared us, challenged us, inspired us (in art, science, literature and theology) and now that we've conquered it - we seem rather less interested as a society.

The film is roughly broken into interesting chapters. We're introduced to a rag-tag bunch of misfits, businesspeople and enthusiasts. There is no dull speaker, and director Simon Ennis deftly illustrates the subjects with well-chosen archive footage. We're quickly introduced to Peter Kokh - President of the Moon Society, who has published a moon news newsletter which quickly sets the documentary running. Kokh presents us with an idea for living on the moon in perpetuity - it presents harsh challenges - baking hot during the day, mostly underground - although with large glass windows letting light in. His concept art reminds the viewer of Alan Lee's concept work on hobbit holes from The Lord of the Rings.

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Christopher Carson is the centrepiece of the documentary. A brilliant, evangelical autistic man who has a vision of being the first man to go to the moon with the aim to set up a society for future mankind to live in - and never return. Hearing him speak directly to camera, we do not doubt for a second that such a society and the technology required to create it would ultimately benefit mankind enormously. Land speculator and uncontested owner of the moon, Dennis Hope also makes the cogent point that the helium-3 deposits on the moon are worth quadrillions of USD - and could easily bail out the US government in its financial difficulties. I remain skeptical.

Is Hope's vision of a lunar embassy a libertarian's paradise? He professes absolute honesty, when questioned on this - his retort: "My parents are from Oklahoma", provides one of the film's biggest laughs. On completing a sale, he signs off with "enjoy the property".

What frustrates Carson - and provides some human meat to the ideas - is the lack of political smarts to convey this message, and the similar lack of a sociological perfect storm like that which inspired the world to grasp the heavens in the Sixties. He visits and speaks to enraptured high-school science students - it's well-delivered, but cheesy as sin. Other efforts in doing street-evangelism and trying to preach to the converted in science fiction conventions fail miserably, barely making back a tenth of their monetary cost.

Other aspects discussed include astronaut Alan Bean's lunar painting and artwork. He speaks fluidly about how visiting the moon inspired him to express his feelings - taking night-school lessons to get good enough. Now? "No one can paint the moon as good as I can" - and the film boasts a fine showcase of his work.

Look out for the moon media historian uncovering a satirical news story from the 19th century published in a New York penny-rag - The Sun - about "fornicating man-bats" living on the moon. This and many other popular science treats await you.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2013
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Lunarcy! packshot
Affectionate look at a group of individuals who are obsessed with the moon.

Director: Simon Ennis

Starring: Christopher Carson, Alan Bean, Dennis Hope, Peter Kokh

Year: 2012

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Canada


EIFF 2013

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