Documentary Films | 2017 | 121 minutes
Stranger Says: Now that we’re stuck with an administration that has nothing but disdain for science, a documentary about 1977’s Voyager mission seems more nostalgic—and necessary—than ever. After all, it was in 1972, under soon-to-be-disgraced President Richard Nixon, that the project came into being. Each probe contained a golden record with greetings and songs for aliens that might be encountered while exploring Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and beyond. Scientists involved with the project talk about the thinking behind it, which can get jargony, but their passion generates a warm glow—until the reality of 2017 sinks in again. (KATHY FENNESSY)
SIFF Says:Launched 16 days apart in the autumn of 1977, the twin Voyager space probes are perhaps humankind’s greatest achievement. The probes have traveled 12 billion miles in 40 years, leaving our solar system behind for the vastness of interstellar space, the first human-made objects to do so. In this powerful and poetic feature documentary, director Emer Reynolds celebrates these magnificent machines, the men and women who built them, and the vision that propelled them farther than anyone could ever have hoped. Beginning with stock footage of the original design and construction process, the documentary relates how this monumental project was conceived and executed, including the famous Golden Record bearing recordings and images of life on Earth. The probes were the pinnacle of technology when launched but have less computing power than a modern-day hearing aid. Yet the two probes on their revolutionary odyssey have unlocked stunning secrets within our solar system, from the discovery of volcanic activity on Jupiter’s moons to the “great dark spot” on Neptune. Featuring stunning imagery from the Voyager probes, The Farthest is both an intimate love letter to science and technology as well as a genuinely cinematic, epic-scale adventure.