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Footprints on the Moon

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1975; vt Le orme; Primal Impulse). Cinemarte. Produced by Luciano Preugia. Directed by Luigi Bazzoni and Mario Fanelli. Written by Bazzoni and Fanelli based on the novel Las Huellas by Fanelli. Cast includes Florinda Bolkan, Nicoletta Elmi, Kalus Kinski and Peter McEnry. 96 minutes, sometimes cut to 83 minutes. Colour with black and white sequences.

Alice Crespi (Bolkan) ia a Portuguese translator living in Rome. She awakens one day to find that she has a three-day long lapse in her memory of which she can recall nothing. Alice is troubled by vivid black-and-white dreams of a landing on the Moon, in which an astronaut is left to die. Professor Blackmann (Kinski), apparently the director of some secret Space Flight research facility, also appears in these dreams. Alice ascribes the dreams to having previously watched most of a science fiction film. She discovers a postcard of a hotel on the Turkish vacation Island of Garma, although she cannot recall having visited it. Taking time off, she travels to Garma to investigate. People there often act as though they have already met her, or knew her as "Nicole", a woman with red hair who had been there before, apparently hiding from somebody. A curious child called Paula (Elmi) addresses Alice as Nicole and directs her to some ancient ruins she says Nicole visited before. There, Alice finds evidence that someone destroyed papers and photos in a small fire. Soon she encounters Henry (McEnery), who also seems to have known her from somewhere else, although he is vague on this point. Eventually Alice discovers him talking by phone about herself to somebody unknown, possibly a member of the research facility seen in her dreams. Henry attempts to take her away with him against her will; Alice stabs him to death, then flees to the beach. Two apparent astronauts in spacesuits appear from nowhere, and proceed to chase Alice, capturing her at last. The film ends as they depart, taking her to an unclear fate.

Footprints on the Moon is almost unclassifiable; US audiences had difficulty finding much coherence in the plot. It is never clear whether Alice is indeed insane or is the subject of some conspiracy related to space travel. Her experiences appear largely imaginary, although no English-language print seems to make this definite. The film is perhaps best considered as a psychological thriller with sf overtones. Bolkan, a Brazilian actress, was better known for her love life than her actual film career; she was reputedly the final lover of former US President John F Kennedy. [GSt]


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