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'The Longest Farewell' review: Absorption Doc ponders the cost of traveling to Mars

You’d be hard-pressed to find a fictional representation of long-distance space travel that doesn’t focus on the psychological toll of isolation and claustrophobia. It’s the seed for everything from Elton John’s “Rocketman” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddities” to the likes of Moon and Alien Movies like this, and then multiple episodes of The Twilight Zone and most of For All Mankind.

Maybe in the deepest part of the galaxy we’ll encounter instrument-destroying solar flares, colonizing aliens, or whatever happens in a Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence movie, But the more tangible threat may just be loneliness.

The longest farewell

Bottom line Rushed, but mostly effective.

Place : Sundance Film Festival (World Film Documentary Competition)

Director: Ido Mizrahy

1 hour minute

Watch Ido Mizrahy’s Sundance premiere documentary

The Longest Goodbye

as a prequel, then, to every sci-fi story ever told. Exploring the realms of NASA’s real-life attempts to deal with previously whimsical fabulists, The Longest Goodbye has occasional access issues and doesn’t have enough time to expand on its strongest themes. But the questions that this documentary and its subject ask are compelling, thoughtful, and in some ways universal.

Mizrahy’s investigation began when NASA was on the verge of developing the next spaceflight. After decades of somewhat stagnating, our attention has been focused on the International Space Station, but multiple presidents have pledged to return to the moon, followed by the first crewed mission to Mars.

It was this process that prompted us to revisit the way we filled the astronaut side of the program. Anyone who has read or watched The Right Stuff knows that the first astronauts were test pilots, daring adrenaline junkies who paled during psychological tests , and was selected for missions that sometimes only lasted a few hours for their ability to make split-second decisions. Astronauts today are expected to try to make a possible three-year trip to Mars before returning.

“It’s an engineering culture,” says Dr. Jack Stuster, an expert on so-called “human factors.” Measured. “

This is where Dr. Al Holland, the true hero of the documentary, comes in. Holland is a Houston-area psychologist who was brought in by NASA to To oversee a freshman psychological preparation team, study the factors that may lead to mission-jeopardizing problems; find out the criteria for selecting astronauts who will face these problems; and find solutions to protect the A scaled-back mission.

Mizrahy and writer/producer Nir Sa’ar take us from the recent past to the present and into the future to highlight what breakthroughs we’ve actually made. which solutions are still speculative fiction.

This documentary is on the strongest footing in the first two time frames. In the recent past, we have Cady Coleman, who spent six months on the ISS at 87 while her son Jamey was in fourth grade. In addition to their webcam interactions at the time, Cody and Jamey also offer their differing perspectives on trying to maintain a family relationship during a chronic absence defined by technological lag and normal thrills and insecurities.

Now, we meet new astronaut Kayla and her husband Tom. A former submarine officer, Kayla is the prototype of the kind of astronaut Holland hopes to recruit – she’s funny, introspective, and she’s on good terms with her husband Solid. But what happens when they can’t talk directly on a daily or weekly basis or at all?

Mizrahy is here to show our stance on ideas that sci-fi buffs know well, but are still in Various stages in progress. Holland’s extended team includes experts in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and even travel hibernation, which won’t help families get back to Earth, but could save astronauts from going through months of estrangement—pun intended— — Travel.

Mizrahy doesn’t have the same access to every part of this story, and it shows. While Cady and Jamie are featured throughout, Kayla and Tom seem Will be the center of the series, but their storyline kinda falls apart as she spends a lot of filming time in space. Then, when it comes to the forward-looking side, it’s clear we’re nowhere near usable virtual reality and usable artificial intelligence –no offense to the floating sphere known as CIMON–much farther than movies and TV show, and no one has given any indication of how long astronauts need to effectively “freeze” for their trip. The documentary sidesteps what practical alternatives might work in the short term.

Sometimes footage from the space station or training is very good, but Mizrahy isn’t that good at coming up with footage when it’s not available Alternatives are gone. There are some unimpressive CG representations of deep space, but it’s a tentative flourish that doesn’t add anything. When the film turns to an anecdote about the stressful situation in the Earth-Mars simulator experiment, Mizrahy resorts to half-hearted partial reenactments before ultimately dropping it—too bad, because it’s a good story.

These constraints hindered the documentary as it neared the end of its run time, like a truncated minute run time. The film never finds a way to connect its ideas to broader conversations that could make anyone feel more connected in an increasingly divided world.

Full credits

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (World Film Documentary Competition) Director: Ido Mizrahy

Writer: Ido Mizrahy, produced by Nir Sa’ar Filmmakers: Ido Mizrahy, Nir Sa’ar, Paul Cadieux Executive Producers: Valda Witt, Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer, Susanne Gebhardt, Kai Henkel, Guy Lavie, Amit Goren, Keren Gleicher , Maryse Rouillard Editor: Anouk Deschenes Photography: Boaz Freund Composer: Ramachandra Borcar

1 hour minute

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