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: Movies :: Reviews :: Mercury 13 :: Paste



So … sweet, charismatic Astro-Dreamboat John Glenn was not so cute for some people. In particular, a group of thirteen highly qualified and thoroughly tested pilots who were able to leave the space program because they had boobies. If the true events (and highly scripted) Hidden Figures made you both dismayed (because damned) and cheered (because we finally hear from them) in the story of three behind-the-scenes Black Women , who have been instrumental in NASA's efforts to send White Guys into space, you'll want to haunt Netflix's latest documentary in a series of documentaries, Mercury 13 .

May I have a sidebar? When I was 24, I jumped out of a plane at a height of 15,000 feet. I'm not going to beat around the bush: I did it because the trip was organized by this guy I had a crush on at work. I'm not an adrenaline junkie and I had no innate desire to experience 70 seconds of final speed. It turned out to be exciting, but nothing that I had to experience twice, and I can not imagine that I really want to be a pilot or an astronaut.

You know, who could? My granny, a farm girl of the southern Minnesotan resident. She had a neighbor with a Barnstormer who taught her how to fly it. My grandfather said that he found the idea of ​​parachuting terrible. Granny answer? "No, just."

Yes, I have a point. Thirteen women's pilots proved, and proved, and proved that in the early 1

960s they were at least equal and in many ways fit as their male counterparts to join the space race, and the brass at NASA failed to wind their massive rocket-scientific brain around the idea that a woman's place in the kitchen could be and the Apollo missions. John Glenn sneered about it on national television. Some of these women are no longer with us, but some are very, and we get their testimonials firsthand along with a lot of archival material from the early days of the space program. In some cases, their children often speak ingenuously and with great acumen. The style of the film is straightforward, straightforward and unadorned – to his advantage, because this is one of the stories that relate to the story. And the story is, as one of the pilots joked, simply that: "Well, there was not Good Ol & # 39; Gal's Network."

Sputnik and Laika and Yuri Gegarin all NASA with massive technological and propagandistic triumphs, so after Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman cosmonaut, while the United States was busy claiming that she has somehow made a menstrual cycle incompetent Orbital flight – well, you'd think they'd be wise. But you are wrong. Asked whether NASA could participate in the space program in the light of the Soviet Union's successful cosmonaut mission, the brilliant, shrill man at the microphone commented at a press conference: "I do, I think we could have used a woman on the second suborbital flight, the right woman, we could have used her instead of the chimpanzee. "The room bursts out in laughter.

Seriously, what's our problem? Considering, say, 105 years (for example) of American history, a narrative emerges: we are not learning from our experiences. The women in this program? They learned. Each in his own way. The question of whether women could be included in the space program went to Congress, where a woman was asked if she really believed she could handle space travel. "I gave birth to eight kids and I breed them, and I still managed to log over 2,000 hours in the air, sir, so … yes." The tone is unmistakable: "By comparison, the gear would be in orbit like a Club Med holiday. "Jaquelyn Cochran, one of the main pilots of the Mercury 13, finally spoke against women in space, against the dismay and shock of their colleagues. We'll never know how much influence that had on the result or not, but the project was rigged and these pilots fell into the shadows of history. Unless women in aerospace technology are a special topic of yours, you probably do not recognize many, if any, of their names.

The documentary film turns into a confusing sequence in which the shots of the moon landing and the aftermath are changed so that astronauts do it, their names stand on the banners, their voices speak of the lunar surface. It takes a second to realize it's a trick, because there's so much archive material, some of which are very iconic, and the effect is really surprising. Depending on your perspective, it can scare you in different ways. It could provoke anger over the all too predictable systemic shutdown and reduction of women's equality. As a child of the seventies, I do not particularly like this reaction: being a feminist in the sense of believing men and women was (at least) equal and deserved equal rights, equal pay and equal opportunities. That was self-evident in my house. I was also raised by a mother who warned me often and not falsely that sometimes the biggest manipulators, traitors and silencers of women were other women, and I think that most intelligent and outspoken women learn when they graduate from middle school have that mental violence against women by their own female colleagues is indeed real. And I believe that the reactions of the other pilots to Cochran's actions have come down to me. The film did not make me feel angry or outraged, but it was desperately sad to see these dynamic, tough, extremely bright and absolutely fearless women sentenced to spend the rest of their lives wondering: Yes, but what would be? ]

Eileen Collins' first female pilot, Eileen Collins, was selected for her groundbreaking mission in 1990, thirty years after the Mercury 13 proved by any means that women would be at least as competent as men in space, and in many More cases. (The Mercury 13 sustained sensory deprivation sessions for 8-5 hours and reported that it "relaxed." On average, men echoed until the third hour.) In a speech to President Clinton, she quickly realized she would not be there without him, the Mercury 13, and after landing, she asked her to stand and made sure everyone heard her name.

Mercury 13 is a small, sparse film about a big subject and manages to compress a lot of subtext into those minutes. The editorial balance between topics of conversation and visions of the past is fantastic and stylistically apt. Honestly, if this movie does not touch you, check your heart rate to make sure you have one more.

Directors: David Sington, Heather Walsh
Release Date: Mercury 13 is now available on Netflix.


Amy Glynn writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction. She is content to let others run for space.


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