Final frontiers

As Astronauts - an exciting new documentary which goes behind the scenes at NASA prepares for lift-off, Eddie Gibb talks to its prize—winning director Paul Berriff.

In the moments before the crew boards the space shuttle Endeavour. no one talks of Challenger which exploded minutes after lift-off ten years ago. vaporising all seven crew members. No one. that is. apart from documentary filmmaker Paul Berriff who

We have lift-off: NASA revealed in Astronauts

makes a point of asking whether memories ofthc flammable rocket fuel. ()ne of the most poignartt got more powerful electronics in your car.‘ he says explosion and those strange. twin trails which zipped details. which Berriff‘s camera picks up ‘lt's a bit like a Second \Vorld \Var bomber all nuts across the blue sky don't intrude on their thoughts. marvellously. is the w ife of the mission captain and bolts Nope. they respond. neyer felt better. ‘l'rn sure they reassuring the other w iyes. in much the same w ay as that said. safety drills dominate the preparation loi were a bit apprehensive but they didn't show it.’ says her husband is motivating his crew, It's a microcosm the launch and the crew spends hour after hour in the Berriff. of American family yalues. arid underlines the belief flight simulator as the .\'.-\.\‘.r\ coittptilci throw s out all NASA sends up one of its four shuttles into space , within the space programme that sending men aird f sort s of disaster scenarios. Since the shuttle disaster. C\'Cl'_\‘ six weeks. btit the crews still spend over a year ' occasionally women irtto orbit is a matter of crew rrrcmbers now wear fire retardant oycialls ofintensiye training to prepare for their turn on the l national pride know it as pumpkin suits which arc supposed to launch pad. 'l'o film :ls/roruru/s. Bei'i‘iff was given l But these days the ['8 (ioyernment doesn't i increase their chances ol \lll\ ry al ma lire 'l‘hcy are

unprecedented access to film preparations for the mission. front the crew members phoning their w iyes‘ to say they had been selected to the emotional

necessarily agree. and the space progranrme can ito taught to belietc that ey cry situation is sui \ l\ .tblc. longer rely on the patriotic dollar to fund its despite the simple cy idence ol ('ltztllcrr;.'er,

adventures. The mission featured in slyll’rtlltllily was

“I tlirnls it would be may tlil‘lcreitt m an crirt'r':.'circy

reunions with their families after ten days in space. partly funded by the Japanese who wanted a satellite ; inxols ing fire and these guys know that] says LTnflinchingly. he stayed with them as they selected retrieved from space. 'l‘he need for a bit ol'decent l‘R i Beiritl 'liut they are the top Myers in the world and the least unpalatable foods from a range of was almost ceitainly one of the reasons why .\'.-\S.\ ' they wouldn’t hate got to this stage ll they were dehydrated snacks. and were shown the niceties of allowed itself to be filmed at such close quarters going to be ll rghtcned on launch day ' toilet training for zero gravity (You don't want to t "l’hey '\e got to the point where they need the l S presidents may no longer send personal good know.) i publicity. especially w hen their budgets are being met. messages to eyeiy astronaut~ but these men are lntercut with the NASA footage are scenes of wives i iiWil.‘ ‘41)“ Bellini ‘l “M “m” mi” l‘”lllis‘iilii\ (ltiii'l still the kind ol all .»\iiieiican heroes lloll_\\\i‘od sitting in suburban liy mg rooms near the airbase understand anything unless they see ll on telcy isioii.‘ loycs ()nc ol tltc crew merribeis is \tlll'e'tl Brent .lcll_ persuading each other that it's no big deal that their Hei‘i'iff was surprised to discot er that inside the for goodness sake. so he must liayc the Right Surf! husbands are about to leave earth's attitosphere ' sleek white body. the space shuttle isn’t quite as .lyll'iilirtllfy \rtn .'\ on l/ou /:‘II‘( 4;; “you on sitting asti'ide two giant cylinders filled with highly high-tech as one would assume ‘You'yc probably (‘lrtmm .’ J

; has travelled. In short, the good guys don’t always win anymore. ‘On the streets people are like that,’ says Clive Owen, who plays a psychopathic hitman. ‘lt’s too easy for people to watch and judge and expect people to be redeemed. But that's not what it’s like, not in real life.’ Director Andy Wilson adds that Bad Boy Blues has a style which is ‘dramtically valid, a poetic palette which reflects the lives that people live‘. Whatever the justification, the resulting film wears its Tarantino influence on its sleeve and is likely to become a test of how far broadcast television is allowed to use cinematic violence to attract adult audiences. (Eddie Gibb) Screen Two: Bad 80 y Blues is on Sat 1 Bad Boy Blues: stylish violence l June on 8802.

the closest television - and certainly f g the BBC - has come to projecting : Quentin Tarantino-style violence into i

' our living rooms. 1 : this blood-soaked drama, which also ; boasts an F-word count that should I a send Mary Whitehouse's swear-o. p y . meter off the scale, centres on two ' childhood friends who grew up battle- hardened on the mean streets of south Though a BBC Spekesmafl denies iheie g London. The Tarantino influence is lied been any diieei eenSOtShiD 0' ' hugely apparent in the flashback style Vieleni buddy ihiillei 53d 507 Blues. . of story-telling and a plot which bears at least ten minutes has been trimmed more than a passing resemblance to from the film since it was first Reservoir Dogs; born feature screened at the DrambuieEdinburgh undercover cops who stop a bullet Film Festival in 1994. Whether or not from their own side, 3 blood and outs were let! on the But it is the fact the film is being euulng'ieem "00', the 50-mifl0ie screened on television at all which version which is being shown as part indicates just how far l’arantino’s of the Screen Two season is probably 1 influence on the modern thriller genre

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