The cold war, the space race, and NASA's moon landing are iconic events that defined an era. They are also fodder for conspiracy theories. In Houston, We Have a Problem! filmmaker Ziga Virc explores the myth of a secret multi-billion-dollar deal involving America's purchase of Yugoslavia's space program in the early 1960s. This masterfully crafted feature-length docu-fiction is an intriguing blend of reality and fiction that recreates recent history through the prism of conspiracy theories. It invites the audience to make up its own mind about what is invented and what is real. In between the blurred lines of reality and fiction, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek asks the billion-dollar question: 'What is truth?' Using a wealth of archive footage, the film brings together all the strands of the myth through an eyewitness account from Ivan, a senior space engineer in the controversial Yugoslav space program. After WW2, Yugoslav intelligence reveals the existence of long-lost space ... Written by
"Houston We have a Problem" started with an interesting enough concept through a documentary/narrative/fictional structure and strategy in order to deliver a certain idea, which in the end becomes a kind of clinical allegory about the disintegration of Yugoslavia trying to be entertaining and funny while at it. Until the last third of the film, it was interesting, I admit, and intriguing where it would end up. By the end it was somewhat disgusting by the shallowness of its "irony," given the tragedy it depicts.
Zizek's usual overcooked but useless philosophical platitudes ring even more hollow than usual in this context although he did have some funny lines in the beginning (yeah, and the socks, whatever).
It may be an interesting film for a disengaged and clueless audience, who were not affected by the history depicted in this film (or similar experiences in other parts of the world) but imagine making such a clinical allegory of another, more "relevant" "country disintegration war" or even (gasp) genocide take your pick Israel, Palestine, Syria, Libya, etc. -- the filmmaker would maybe be more vilified/ostracized/banished than celebrated for his "cleverness." If you want an effective allegory of what happened with Yugoslavia, watch Tanovic's Oscar winner "No Man's Land," or even better, Kenovic & co.'s SaGA films (google it) from that part of the world, Bosnians are much better and more interesting storytellers and record keepers than Slovenians (and much funnier, too for full disclosure, I am not Bosnian and I don't subscribe to ethnic disparagement or similar).
PS. It's not really a "1" more like a "5" rating, but just to counter this ridiculous overrated extravaganza here.
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