Christopher Nolan writes about a true significance of the First Man
One of the most interesting directors Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Dunkirk) published a short reflection about the First Man. Nolan praises an intimacy of Damien Chazelle’s interpretation and concludes that he made „an introverted film about the most extroverted moment in the history of the world.“
Three features in, Damien Chazelle has emerged as one of our most exciting and accomplished filmmakers.
His take on Neil Armstrong’s voyage was never going to be a middle-of-the-road affair: Instead he crafted a masterfully staged re-creation of the space program with utterly compelling physical detail and layers of cinematic immersion that command credence and ensure that the radical and intensively subjective nature of Chazelle’s point-of-view comes as a gradually unveiled shock.
By equating our most intimate human moments with the great adventure, the film doesn’t diminish the cosmic, it elevates the earthly. Discussions about the film’s portrayal of the flag on the moon largely missed the point: the choice was not about forms of patriotism, it was about a filmmaker presuming to leap over the collective sense of this great event to land on a genuine understanding of what stepping onto the farthest point of mankind’s reach might have actually felt like to the individual who did it.
No one can know Neil Armstrong’s thoughts as he stood on the moon, but Chazelle commits and the intimacy of his interpretation is plausible and resonant. We rely on, indeed, demand this commitment from our finest storytellers and Damien Chazelle does not let us down.
He has dared to make an introverted film about the most extroverted moment in the history of the world. “First Man’s” true significance, not unlike the momentous events which it dares to interpret, may not come into focus for some time.