For All Mankind (1989)
This documentary is an exquisite montage of footage from NASA missions to the moon shot by the astronauts themselves. Often we hear their commentary, but there are no talking heads, there is no disruption from the authentic visual experience. Added the sublime music of Brian Eno, composed especially for the film (and ended up on the album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks), one gets the feeling of watching fiction rather than a documentary. This is often the sign of a powerful narrative. The footage is edited from a number of missions, although the “story” is supposed to follow Apollo 11 and the first landing on the moon, so there is a multiplicity of film stock and image quality. It’s a clever and practical choice, every mission being metonymically Apollo 11, and this plays beautifully with the idea that this epic voyage is somehow in the realm of fiction, of the imagined — 2001: A Space Odyssey and dreams are alluded to — and of our memories.