The figures of the shadow remind one that the space, the greatest conquest of man, could not have been done … without women !
The fact of the inspiration of a true story is it the guarantee of a good film ? The answer to THE FIGURES OF The SHADOW is… yes ! Because the american studios are definitely the chic to highlight all the ingredients that make a movie fiction: fates extraordinary in a particular historical context and in which multiple twists and turns are highlighted by the music !
The historical context here plunges the spectator in 1961, amidst the cold war between the Americans and the Russians, who are trying one and the other to be the first to send a man into space. THE FIGURES OF The SHADOW of course, is not the first film that discusses the geopolitical issues and patriotic of the conquest of space by the NASA : we think we as well to The Cloth of the Hero of Philip Kaufman , or the Apollo 13 of Ron Howard. The difference is in the transcript of this ambition, as it is shown from the side of programmers, and calculators, check the paths and test the materials. We cross there all the same astronauts, like John Glenn, the first to have been put in orbit and circle the Earth in his rocket.
But mathematics is really at the heart of the film – which is rare enough to be stressed -, and the director manages to make the challenge exciting and accessible to all. The scenario was written by Allison Schroeder– mathematician whose grand-mother was a programmer at NASA – from the book of Margot Lee Shetterly, whose father also worked at NASA.
It therefore follows closely the work of the teams, but also their hopes, their doubts and their quarrels. It vibrates with them when they crash, but also when they succeed ! THE FIGURES OF The SHADE recalls the beginnings of the computer and the first calculator and IBM, which will gradually take over the calculations a human, albeit slower but ultimately still quite safe. The effective stage setting of the filmmaker Theodore Melfi makes it truly fascinating the transformation of the figures trajectory actual gear sent into space !
“The figures of the shadow allows the viewer to get close, also, stars” Click To Tweet
The events of THE FIGURES OF The SHADOW are located in the premises of the NASA, in the state segregationist from Virginia. Many scenes remind the viewer of the séparationa between whites and people of color : in the bus, in libraries, at the University. The tv also shows some images of Martin Luther King or victims of racism. The director refers to the two types of reactions conventional in the proportion of people who undergo this segregation and that we have the habit to see in a movie: the acceptance or violence. But it offers another way of seeing, that of the non-resignation by the protagonists, who use their skills that the laws (as was recently seen in Loving of Jeff Nicholls) to fight the injustice.
The three heroines of THE FIGURES OF The SHADOW afro-american move in the world of work uncertain, white and macho, but are first and foremost scientists. Having the chance to have an entourage sympathetic and encouraging, they show as much ambition as daring and perfectly know their value. Because the segregation is not an exception to NASA, which separates both the offices of the mathématiciennes calculators, as their toilet. The director uses beautiful metaphors of black and white. And that of the white chalk used by Katherine/Taraji P. Hanson (the heroine of the series Empire) for his demonstration on the blackboard, that he tended, as the symbol of the trust and confidence of her teacher and then her superior, Al Harrison /Kevin Costner.
The director insists that the difference with NASA is that the scientific spirit slowly takes on the color difference, smooth the inequalities and promotes respect. And Katherine and her friends Dorothy/Octavia Spencer (Get on up) and Mary/Janelle Monae (Moonlight) contribute each in their own way and with their talent and respective in their field of research, to the conquest of space. They will be gradually recognized by their peers, as Vivian Michael/Kirsten Dunst and Paul Stafford/Jim Parsons.
The solidarity of three girlfriends is heart-warming and humor which they obstinately retain, in all circumstances is courageous, sometimes pretty damn cheeky. The director also insists on the fact that while scientific, they are no less women and mothers… however, It would have been able to refrain from developing the love life of Katherine, who brings nothing else to the film than the pleasure of again Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, again). Finally, the music of the 60’s, revisited by Pharell Williams, also the co-producer of the film, highlights each important moment in the fight of these women.
Some may argue that THE FIGURES OF The SHADOW is a little too much : the film presents a community of middle class african-american believer who is a little too idyllic, a patriotism a little too pressed, a feminism a little too utopian and heroines a little too perfect… We will respond, however, that THE FIGURES OF The SHADOW, making a beautiful tribute to these women of the shadows, also carries a sacred message of hope about the human intelligence !
Your opinion ?
• Achievement : Theodore Melfi
• Scenario : Allison Schroeder after the work of Margot Lee Shetterly,
• Main actors : Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Mahershala Ali, Jim Parsons,
• Release Date : march 8, 2017
• Duration : 1h38min