'The Last Dream for THE MOON'
- Directed by Octavian Repede -
Many things in life lose a considerable degree of romanticism once more details are known for certain about them. It is because the all-encompassing allure of the unknown gets gradually diminished, what was a mysery which opened many different avenues of possibility is now categorized and understood, and it becomes just another object. Octavian Repede’s project somehow laments this loss of magic with regards to the Moon, an entity often associated with the cycle of life and fate. All this is placed within a very innovative historical sci-fi context.
After an intro accompanied by the Soviet anthem, which perfectly sets the context of the film within the race for space exploration that defined an important part of the Cold War waged between the USSR and the USA, ‘The Last Dream for the Moon’ branches into two interwoven parts. In one, a young Romanian man enjoys some quiet time by himself somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains, in the summer of 1969. While shooting some footage on his camera, he is startled by a strange noise, and stumbles upon a wreck that could only have come from the sky. In 2009, one professor Werner, a Transylvanian scientist, talks about having received the aforementioned footage, and hypothesizes its origins and meanings in a documentary-like fashion.
While almost purely of speculative nature, professor Werner’s what-if scenarios are very interesting and well-presented. Most of the film is based on this type of narration, and yet it never gets boring, largely thanks to its ability to constantly pose thought-provoking questions. What if the wreckage came from a moon-bound Soviet cosmic capsule, a part of a secret government programme which tried to accomplish a successful expedition to the Earth’s satellite before the Americans would do so themselves? What if Lance Armstrong was indeed the first man to walk on the surface of the Moon in July 1969, but actually the first person was a Russian woman by the name of Ulyana Markovskaya, one month before Apollo 11? The film proceeds with much finesse along these lines, creating exhilarating narratives that blend in well with the mysterious and unnerving tension which characterizes the wreck footage from the Carpathians.
Despite being a fictional scenario, ‘The Last Dream for the Moon’ feels like a real documentary spiced up with a bit of dramatic mystery. It comes with a few minor problems: at times, the professor does not sound exactly convinced by what he is saying, while the editing involving the cosmic capsule on fire is really amateur-ishly done, and the repetition of this particular piece of footage gets really distracting. Additionally, the de-mystification theme is introduced in the beginning, and while it is indirectly maintained throughout the film’s duration, more could be done about it, directly. Other than that, there is not much that one can criticize about Octavian Repede’s project: an original idea put into practice in a very, very good way, this should definitely be a success.