I’m a big fan of astronomer Phil Plait’s science blogging. Today he posted some awesome photos snapped serendipitously by astronomer Steve Cullen atop Mauna Kea. Cullen caught striking images of a Chinese rocket burning up as it fell back into earth’s atmosphere. If you haven’t seen the pics yet, check them out here: “SPECTACULAR Photos of a Rocket Re-Entering Over Hawaii!”
Looking at those jaw-dropping, cool photos got me thinking about one of my favorite movies of recent years (and winner of seven Academy Awards), director Alfonso Cuaron’s 2013 film Gravity. Interestingly, what I like best about Gravity is a scene that doesn’t actually occur in the film. Or, rather, it occurs in the film but only from the perspective of astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock). The scene comes at the point when Stone is ready to give up on the hope that she shall ever make it back to terra firma. She is slowly running out of oxygen and in her dying moments (so she thinks) she makes contact with a strange voice speaking an unknown language from somewhere back down on earth.
I always wondered what more I could learn about that voice. So a few months after seeing Gravity I did an online search and discovered that Cuaron’s son Jonas had made a short movie to accompany Gravity which introduces us to Aningaaq, the man behind the voice. What a beautiful juxtaposition is to be found in the interweaving of these two scenes, one of my favorite cinematic moments of recent memory.
I’ve included the scenes below.
Here is the scene from Gravity:
And here is Aningaaq: