A quiet film by French-Canadian Robert Lepage (creator of Cirque du Soleil’s hit “Ka” production), Far Side of the Moon is a thoughtful look at a middle-aged man who is lonely, underemployed, and respected by no one–not even his twin brother. Lepage plays the dual roles of outcast Phillippe, a fortysomething telemarketer trying to earn his doctorate, and Andre, a selfish and lazy weatherman.
When their mother dies, Phillippe is heartbroken. Andre is more pragmatic–she was sick, it was her time to go. Some of the film’s best moments are of a somber Phillippe having a conversation with his unseen brother. When he calls Andre to ask if he’ll take care of their mom’s goldfish, the viewer can extrapolate exactly what Andre said by Phillippe’s comment: “You’re allergic when you eat fish, not when you feed it.”
Spoken in French, the film’s most poignant and dynamic vignettes aren’t of Phillippe’s recollections of his mother, but his moments alone videotaping all the things that mean the most to him, which he hopes will be archived for any extraterrestrials who may be curious about earth. The film moves at a slow pace that belies its running time of 106 minutes. But it’s a charming film, with a surreal ending that befits a dreamer like Phillippe.