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“First Man” flag controversy

John Ruhl, Staffer

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The new Ryan Gosling-led film First Man rolled out on the festival circuits at places such as Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. First Man chronicles the struggle of NASA in the 1960s to get a man on the moon, along with the toll it takes on Neil Armstrong and his family. The film received, and is still currently receiving, stellar reviews from critics which has helped propel it in the Oscar conversation.

However, there is a catch. It was revealed following the first screenings that the moment of Armstrong planting an American flag on the moon was omitted from the film, which had an negative reaction. Yet, it only angered those who hadn’t yet seen the movie as the vast majority of those who had did not find the omission to be a big deal. Still, there were many people, including politicians, who found the omission to unpatriotic.

This is total lunacy, and a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said on Twitter. “The American people paid for that mission, on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission.”

The film’s director, Damien Chazelle (Oscar-Winning Director of La La Land), defended its omission. Chazelle states that he didn’t want to focus on “a very famous moment” and instead decided to dig into “the unfamous stuff.” Therefore, his omission of the scene was not for political reasons, but rather artistic ones.

Many who have seen the film believe that the case against it is utter nonsense, as there is an American flag shown on the moon, but it is not shown being planted per say. Overall, this controversy has been really just been a case of much ado about nothing as those who had lit the flame simply didn’t see the film prior to making their comments.

 

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