Written and Directed by #OctavianRepede
Written and directed by Romanian film-maker Octavian Repede, The Astronaut of God aims to combine ideas on sky and space with ideas surrounding God and The Divine. Astronaut William goes into space on spacecraft GENESIS 1491 to discover more and what he is confronted with is interesting to consider, but is mostly confusing. Whilst the hour-long film deliberates on some interesting facts and theories on space, the delivery was poor and often unclear.
The film itself felt futuristic, especially because it showed archive space footage from the offset. Probably the best viewing aspect was the high-quality editing of this black and white footage amongst William’s scenes. Scenes were coloured in shades of blue which created a unique mood in terms of William’s perception of space. The shaky camerawork also created some atmosphere to the story and ultimately contrasted with the stable shots of the historical clips.
However, what was not apparent was that the film was actually set in 1962 in the crucial decade of the space race and the upcoming moon landing. In hindsight, this is a great context to base a film in, especially with contemporary forward-thinking ideas surrounding space development and the scientific knowledge that we have now. Unfortunately, because the setting was not clear, this was missed.
Events that take place throughout the film do not make much sense. What exaggerates this is the narration and vocalisation throughout, as they take away from the words of the story. The robot-like narration that is used is de-humanising and takes away from the personal aspect of William’s story. Lacking in emotion, the ‘dialogue’ is repetitive, ineffective and disengaging and the audience cannot empathise with William at all. It is a shame because Repede’s film has good artistic license, but the intention and message of the film gets lost because of the delivery.
Repede has created a strange and surreal film and it certainly has good merits. The use of minimal sound in some parts is chilling and contrasts with louder creepy moments such as the revelation of an alien entity in the latter half of the film. Ideas surrounding hallucination versus reality are embedded within the context of outer space knowledge and this was well-researched. Yet, most of the story does seem to be far-fetched, as it becomes clear that William most-likely would have died in space. At the end of the film it is not clear if William has given up on his beliefs surrounding there being a God in space. Clarification on this would have rounded off the film nicely and given the audience a clearer idea of what to feel towards him.
With a larger budget and greater cast capacity, this storyline has the potential to be an excellent film. Its ideas on logic and divinity in space are a great starting point for critics to debate over, both in the film and science world. Suffice to say, The Astronaut of God has a great concept, but is unfortunately poorly delivered.