Watch ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ and feel the butterflies |

Watch ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ and feel the butterflies

The coolest accomplishment in the history of humankind was putting a man on the moon. Yet discussion abounds as to whether a space program is worth the resources. Nonetheless, that scope, commitment and galvanized global spirit rose above horrific wars and immense small-mindedness.

In the documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon,” astronaut Michael Collins refers to an “ephemeral and wonderful” moment immediately after his return from man’s first landing on another heavenly body. He said that wherever they toured around the world, everyone expressed pride and elation in what we – humankind – had done.

How amazing that we set our sights and accomplished the goal, essentially in less than a decade. Think of the cooperation and know-how, faith and fantastical possibility. Think of billions of people witnessing “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”

Whether or not you have a faded recollection of the Apollo moon project, see “In the Shadow of the Moon.” You’ll feel the butterflies. You’ll appreciate the down-to-earth qualities of the people who have seen, firsthand, the celestial circle in space that is planet Earth. The interviews with these people are thoroughly engaging and enhanced by film clips from space and from the space program’s home ground.

You’ll see the blue, white and brown of our planet. You’ll feel danger. You’ll glimpse the moon up close and human beings walking on it. You’ll watch the faces watching. You’ll hear from people who know something special about what one of them calls our “terrestrial squabbles.” These are people who have hidden the whole of Earth behind an outstretched thumb.

Documentary films provide an emotional tether to such things as the Holocaust and World War II, including firsthand testimony. Just as important is having an emotional tether to such an affirmation of human potential as putting a man on the moon. “In the Shadow of the Moon,” playing at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2-4, at the Nevada Theatre, is a positively cool film.


Chuck Jaffee lives in Nevada City. Find his other articles for The Union at

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