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Far Side of the Moon
Philippe is a thirty-something man who works as a telemarketer and has an unfinished dissertation about what he believes is man's narcissistic quest for space travel, which he hopes will give him a chance to get a degree. His brother Andre is a successful television weather man. Both have recently had to deal with the death of their mother. But since they are both opposites they have a tough time talking to one another let alone reaching out and confronting each other over the fact that they are the only two survivors of their mother.
The Far Side of the Moon is a Canadian film that was written, directed and produced by Robert Lepage. He also very convincingly plays the two main characters. And although the film is a bit self indulgent and at times has the feeling of a stage play that has been expanded to include special effects it has a lot of ideas and interesting character development.
Other than the basic plot The Far Side of the Moon is a difficult film to write about because it is not easy to pinpoint exactly what it is about. Basically, one brother is bitter and very lonely while the other is more carefree but a bit of a jerk and through the course of the movie they learn how to communicate. Although in many ways the film is more about Philippe who comes to the realization that his dissertation says more about him than it does about mankind. Andre is the younger brother and in time he begins to soften up a bit and communicate to Philippe about their mother's death.
The Far Side of the Moon film with obvious thematic sign posts. One reason may be because it is not an emotional film. Most of it has an intellectual distance and is more engaging on a cinematic level than an emotional one. The character of Philippe also becomes a bit of a drag after a while - even though some of his morose scenes are supposed to be humorous.
The film is beautifully shot on HD and has a lot of unique and clever editings and special effects that allude to space travel, drug use, fantasies and other interesting flash backs, which reveal things about the characters. The film is recommended as a rental.
The transfer is looks terrific and is presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen. The film was shot in High Definition and it looks very sharp and clear with fine contrasts and good colors.
Audio is presented in French 5.1 dolby digital and 5.0 DTS and sounds excellent. There is a real richness to the sound that shows there was a lot of attention paid to sound levels during the filming.
There is only one good extra called The Special Effects of Robert Lepage: Visual Effects Featurette. It lasts only about 16 minutes but reveals a lot about the making movies. Their are just two interviews - with the special effects coordinator Martin Lauzon and DP Ronald Plante - both of whom give a lot of insight into the creation of half-a-dozen scenes. There is also a trailer. The film also has optional English subtitles.
The Far Side of the Moon is at best an interesting film about a man who is coming to grips with his mother's death and with his own alienation. It looks excellent but has minimal extras.