San Diego Film Festival 2014 presents Project M

project m

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Eric Piccoli

Review Rating: 7.5

In the not-too-distant future with Earth’s supply of natural resources dwindling, four astronauts are sent into space on a 1,000 day space station journey to a moon orbiting Jupiter.

So it stands to reason that, with a great deal of our other natural resources gone, fresh water would become a highly valuable commodity. The four astronauts of Project M were sent to inhabit an orbital space station around Earth that sent a mission to one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, to drill on the surface to look for this precious commodity. And about the 900th day or so of their 1,000-day mission, the reports come back that yes, water has indeed been discovered on Europa!

This is cause for great rejoicing amongst the crew, celebrations of smuggled-aboard alcohol and spreading the joyous news to the inhabitants of Earth down below. The astronauts are looking forward to completing their mission and coming home to a brighter future. And then, when one of the astronauts is playing a pretty tune on the onboard piano with a nearby window overlooking the Earth, the worst possible thing imaginable happens: lights begin going off over our lovely little blue planet, and we’re not talking EMPs. Explosions are happening all over the place, huge nasty things darkening the atmosphere and the hearts of the astronauts watching, helpless, as humanity destroys itself over water. Our heroes are left broken up there in space, wondering what to do now, and the strain begins to crack even the best of them. The engineer decides to space herself in her despair, the Captain nearly takes off in the single space station return pod alone, only to be stopped at the last moment and have that one pod take off, empty, leaving the astronauts further stranded. A leftover Russian spacecraft with a lone occupant already dying from radiation sickness is dubiously rescued, and of course the Cosmonaut has designs on getting back to Earth of his own. The official mission of Project M is already completed, but the war down on Earth rages on, and none of our heroes can quite figure out why, until they recheck the findings from Europa and find that something else besides water was discovered on Jupiter’s moon! Armed with this staggering new knowledge, something that may bring humanity together when they’re tearing themselves apart over water, the remaining astronauts have to decide what their brave final acts will be.

It is an incredible film, full of what-ifs and could-bes that all of humanity experiences at least once at some point in their lifetime. The documentary feel of the interviews of the film give it more believability, and the all-too-possible portrait of humanities future is terrifyingly real. Yes it is a French foreign film and there are subtitles, be ye warned.

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