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(La face cachée de la lune (The dark side of the moon), 52 min., William Karel, 2002)

Here be spoilers, enter at your own risk.

A treat for conspiracy nuts, this fake documentary spins a story of how in the cold war space race, president Nixon and his closest advisors, approached Stanley Kubrick to film a fake moon landing on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so they would have material to show the world, should the pictures and film actually shot on the moon prove unsatisfactory. (Note that the fact that men landed on the moon is not disputed, which makes this film all the more clever.)

The film features interviews with Nixon advisors Donald Rumsfeld, Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger, with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, with Kubrick's widow, Christiane and others, mixed in with footage taken out of context, sometimes redubbed, and with actors being interviewed. This may sound klunky and obvious, but it is done so incredibly well, that it had me going for a good 20 minutes. (I stumbled into it after it had started, but I don't think there is any indication at the start of the film that it is in fact a hoax.) Especially the interviews are so natural-looking that I suspect that the makers did interview Rumsfeld and the others, under false pretences, to get them to say exactly what they needed.

Like Welles' F for fake it is a meta-hoax, with just enough truth mixed in to keep the viewer off-balance, like it, it drives the point all the way home that uncritical consumption of information is generally not a good idea, and like it, it is very entertaining.

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