Apollo 10 + 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood is an animated film based on the childhood of the respected director, screenwriter and producer Richard Linklater who is behind this project. This is his second film that has been completely rotoscoped, ie simply put – each recorded frame has been redrawn by an animator, so the recorded material served as a basis for making animated work. The film arrived on Netflix servers on March 24 after limited cinema distribution.
The script was set in 1969 during the events that preceded the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon and follows two intertwined perspectives. One represents the astronauts and mission control during this triumphant event, while the other talks about what it looked like from the perspective of an excited boy Stanley who lives near NASA’s Space Center in Houston. We get a combination of a demanding reconstruction of this special moment in the history of mankind and a child’s fantasy about how he was pulled out of his average life in the suburbs in order to secretly train for a mission to the moon.
The story begins with Stanley being recruited into a top-secret mission and the narrative literally ends during that mission – that’s when the retrospective follow-up of the daily life of Stanley’s family, his friends and the neighborhood in which he lives begins. I liked how the author nicely incorporated that nostalgic story into the events that follow the landing on the Moon (both what the boy imagined and what really happened).
We follow what it was like to grow up in a house with two middle-class parents who save wherever possible and six children of different ages and interests. The children did housework and spent a lot of time in front of the TV or playing – considering how little attention was paid to safety, it is a real miracle that the children managed to get through childhood with some broken arms or legs.
Richard Linklater’s first animated work, Waking Life, was a philosophical film. The author, through the protagonist who was in a state of lucid sleep, dealt with issues of consciousness, free will, metaphysics, dreams, the meaning of life, as well as various philosophical directions, among which existentialism prevails. This time it is almost certainly an autobiographical film – he grew up in the Houston area, was the same age as its protagonist at the time of landing on the moon, and probably his family / community took everything related to the historical endeavor very personally.
Some dreams have more basis in reality than others, but all dreams feel real in some form or in some way. Our protagonist describes to us events that almost certainly happened, but he also lists events and situations that are not true. However, the boy’s imagination made them true and that’s how these animated memoirs work – the author’s goal is not to present the authenticity of specific events, but to present the mood of childhood in this place, at this time and with a sense of emerging history amidst many things. quite ordinary.
All our childhood memories are similar in some way – they combine a vague feeling of one or more things or events connected in the mind as one and direct memories or awareness of a certain event. As for our protagonist, the question is to what extent these memories are actually memories, and to what extent are the author’s retrospective knowledge that certain events are important parts of the history through which he lived.
Richard Linklater again uses visual and thematic content in a deeply personal and innovative way and proves that he perfectly understands the time and environment in which the story is set. The film exudes a nostalgic feeling and is in line with the sophisticated narration characteristic of this author. Although the film is about events and time periods that have nothing to do with me, I liked that it has elements that I could identify with, so the impression during and after watching was more positive than I expected.
Apollo 10 + 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood is a personal project of Richard Linklater realized by a demanding technique of rotoscopy – a film about reliving a historical event that shows that, at a certain moment, everyone’s childhood becomes history. Final grade: 8/10
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