The last few years have seen countless films about many manly men heading into the vast of manly space to achieve various manly things: Interstellar, The Martian, First Man, Ad Astra… Enter award-winning French screenwriter-director Alice Winocour, who manages to shake up the typical space movie algorithm while operating within its genre barriers: she casts a female central protagonist and, instead of exploring the final frontier, grounds her film on terra firma.
Eva Green plays Sarah, an astronaut who is chosen to join the Proxima Mission and who undergoes arduous training before rocketing off to space for a year-long expedition. This comes at a cost, as her young daughter Stella (Zélie Boulant) has to move in with her father (Lars Eidinger) and struggles to come to terms with the reasons why her mother is leaving her behind.
Proxima is an authentic-feeling space film that doubles up as an equally authentic mother-daughter story that deals with separation, liberation and motherhood, as well as a feminist commentary that addresses the challenges women face in male-dominated fields. It replaces epic space shenanigans with a narrative that has the soul of a documentary. Throughout, the film smacks of realism: whether it’s the setting, meticulous technical details or sincere dialogue, it actually feels bigger than the expanse of the cosmos by keeping things on a seemingly more reduced human scale. Don’t miss out.
Read our interview with Alice Winocour here.
Proxima / Directed by Alice Winocour (France, Germany, 2019), with Eva Green, Zélie Boulant, Lars Eidinger. Starts July 1.