March 15th was the last time I went to the cinema. It is July 31st. That is 138 days without a visit to the cinema, no films seen in the [not] luxury surroundings of the Rochester Cineworld cinema. There are 233 communications within the menu “Film”, I’m not sure all of them are cinema film reviews but I am sure more than 200 are. The first film reviewed on this iteration of my website was Oblivion. That’s a little amusing as I recently saw that it was on Netflix and checked this place to see if I had already seen it, I realised I had and decided to not bother watching it again. The original cinema list is here and starts with Shrek 2!

I think there are formalities to get through before I mention what I thought of Proxima and the first point is to say that I did NOT notice the state of the tide on the way in to the cinema. I checked it on the way out but I think I was just pleased to be driving next to the river that I didn’t actually look at it and register how high or low the water was. When leaving that place I did look and the river was low indicating a low tide. I saw the 13:40 showing of this film on the first day that cinemas were allowed to open. I figured the place would be cleaner earlier in the day. When I booked the ticket I wasn’t aware just how hot the weather was going to be and I’m glad I went. It is 36C out there and spending a little while in the air conditioned cinema was great. My lounge is 26C and it felt so nice to come in to the cold house when I got home. I did have a bike ride earlier today and I rode along the river most of the way so it was shady and cooler than everywhere else.

The last few years I’ve spent some time trying to find two films that haunt me from my early years. One was a sci-fi piece that was Australian I think and about the end of the world. Another was a French animation which involved time travel. I think I have found them both and I am going to watch the live action film later. I think it is called The Quiet Earth and I saw it on a list of Sci-Fi films you should see but might not have – it was a listicle and I had seen most but the summary makes me think that this is the one I’ve been searching for. The animation is called Les Maîtres du temps and I will be trying to find a copy of that film to see if it as messed up as I remember.

As is custom I rated Proxima on IMDB and there’s a communication covering all the details of the rating system here. I then tweeted the result. Normally this would be completed from my phone but I have deleted the Twitter app for mental health reasons. I therefore only check Twitter about 0.75 times a day.

I really enjoyed this film, far more than some recent, meant to be realistic films like First Man. The film covers the training an astronaut receives in the run-up to launch and but primarily this film focuses on the way this challenges the relationship with her young daughter. I liked the dedications during the credits to the female astronauts who had young daughters when they went into space.

This film uses a mixture of space training alternating with relationship issues. And it has Matt Dillon! Matt Dillon! I’ve not seen him in anything for ages and he totally still plays the sexist pig quite well. I thin he melts a little towards the end of the film which I think was nice but also rather predictable. Eva Green conveys the emotions of being a parent really well. I really enjoyed her performance. I enjoyed this film, but probably won’t be watching it again, hence the 6/10.

A thing that irks me is how so many films try to make everything look so easy and non-technical. I think the idea is to maintain that myth that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough. This is complete bullshit. Some people aren’t able to do things that they want. You can practice and you can try your best but there are a lot of other people out there who are trying to do the same as you and it only takes a very small difference for them to win. Space is hard. Space is complex. We have this romanticised view of astronauts being gung-ho cowboys when in reality they are full of the most technical and detailed information about their entire mission that the side shown to the public is remarkably false. All media representations of aircraft, boats, cars, bridges, anything designed and built by humans tend to undersell just how complex these things are. Your mobile phone is, to you, just a black box which does stuff. I think that’s how most of the world is represented to us as humans. These things just work and we don’t have to worry about how.

Proxima showed some of the technical aspects of being shot into space and I liked it for that. It showed the difficulty of training for a mission and it showed the stresses on the human. It is a good film.

The Quiet Earth

Yesterday I also watched The Quiet Earth. I paid to watch this on Amazon and I am glad I did. For some reason I saw this film in the 80s and it has stuck with me all that time. I regularly think about it. Firstly, an admission – it’s not set in Australia but New Zealand and I think I’ll have to accept that’s close enough. The film follows the journey of a man who awakes to find himself alone in the world. He does find some other people eventually after going mad and we see what happens. I enjoyed it. Here’re the main things that I remember from thirty years ago:

  • An experiment to create an energy field around the Earth went wrong
  • The charge of an electron had changed

Both of these things were in the film but they weren’t actually big parts of the plot. I don’t know why they have stuck with me so much. Possibly my admiration for aviation matters? One of the issues with aircraft [and cars] is that they have to carry their fuel with them. This means that to travel further you need more fuel so you have more mass and therefore need more fuel to transport that extra mass. If we could find a way of negating the need for fuel to be carried on the aircraft then we would have a really efficient system. The premise behind this film is that an energy field was created in the atmosphere to power aircraft. This has stuck with me all that time and I used to think about it quite often.

The other film I mentioned earlier, Les Maîtres du temps, I have found on YouTube and will watch later. I can’t find it to stream and it costs a whopping GBP40 on DVD because it’s so rare. Having looked into it a little it looks like a joint production between the French, the BBC and Hungary so I expect it will be weird as fuck.