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Woman in the Moon

Saturday, Mar 7, 2020

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Introduced by data scientist and astronomer Jana Grcevich

Dir. Fritz Lang. 1929, 190 mins. DCP. With Willy Fritsch, Gerda Maurus, Klaus Pohl. Director Fritz Lang’s last silent film, Woman in the Moon also one of the earliest films to engage scientists in its making. Physicist and engineer Hermann von Oberth, considered a founder of rocketry, served as technical advisor and designed the model for the film’s spaceship. Based on a novel of the same name by Lang’s wife and frequent collaborator Thea von Harbou, Woman in the Moon is an epic space adventure that follows the entanglements of a group intent on journeying to the moon in search of gold. The film features arresting sets of the lunar surface and special effects by abstract film pioneer Oskar Fischinger, helping to inaugurate the tradition of experimental filmmakers working on commercial films–which continued with films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Empire Strikes Back, and most recently James Gray’s Ad Astra.

Before the screening of Woman in the Moon, astronomer and data scientist Jana Grcevich, co-author of Vacation Guide to the Solar System, will speak about how the film’s theme of space travel resonates today.

Jana Grcevich is a data scientist and astronomer whose academic work focuses on dwarf galaxies and interstellar gas. She is an adjunct professor in the Cooper Union School of Art and at the American Museum of Natural History, and is the outreach coordinator for Columbia University’s Astronomy Department. Dr. Grcevich is co-author of a space-oriented travel guide, Vacation Guide to the Solar System, published by Penguin Random House in 2017.