The Farthest by Emer Reynolds (Review)

I share my thoughts about “The Farthest” a beautiful documentary directed by Emer Reynolds and screened during the Sydney Film Festival.

The Farthest by Emer Reynolds
Ireland | 2017 – 120 minutes. | Documentary

The documentary tells the story of NASA’s Voyager space program, a huge and ambitious project that has its roots in 1972, five years before they launched the first probe into space. The objective was to gather scientific information about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune: planets which were unknown and unexplored at the time. To do this they launched two probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 with 9 months of difference. Despite the limited technology compared to today’s advanced microchips they were able to successfully take images and other data from the planets. Once the probes finished their missions, they continued travelling towards further outer space, so becoming the first man-made objects that left our solar system. Like a message on a bottle, the probes carried with them a Golden Record that contained sounds, images, songs and the position of our Planet so that if one day aliens found the probe they would see and hear the way we lived on Earth

First I would like to thank the people at “Crossing The Line Productions” for letting me see a screener of the documentary, since I couldn’t attend the Sydney Film Festival.

Now back to the doc, I have to say I absolutely loved it and enjoyed every minute. It’s been a while since I haven´t watched such an engaging documentary. You can sense there was love and passion put into making such wonderful film. You don’t feel like watching one of those plain TV Documentaries with a narrator explaining all the technical things. Here you get the whole experience, the same people who worked on the project talk about their memories and emotions as the mission developed. The documentary is so beautifully crafted that you feel like they are talking to you face to face over a nice cup of coffee. It made you part of the experience instead of just an spectator. The film also manages to talk about the whole project and without focusing too much on the “Golden Record”, that is widely known. It talks about the importance of the discoveries and the problems the mission had.

One of the last images of Neptune taken by Voyager 2

And that’s what I look in a documentary. It’s not only about the technical information, for me what’s more important is what makes you feel and think. And this documentary made me think about what is out there in space. Will an alien pick up that probe understand our message and travel back before earth banishes from existence? And most important about our short existence as a scientist said “this may in the long run be the only evidence that we ever existed”…and that’s scary.

The photography and the way is told (with images from the mission and old footage of the NASA conferences) feels authentic and eye catching. My favorite scenes are those you see frame-by-frame photos from Voyager 1 as it approached different plants.It felt beautiful and hypnotic as the photos pass by and you can see the planets get closer and closer.

The Farthest is a beautiful and wonderful experience that you cannot miss. I like to think somehow there is a little bit of us all traveling with Voyager 1…


About the director:
Emer Reynolds is a multi-award winning director and editor. The Farthest, an epic tale of the Voyager spacecraft, is her first solo feature as director, following Grierson-nominated Here Was Cuba as co-director. Over the last two decades, Reynolds’ editing work has spanned feature films, TV drama and documentary.

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