6.9 How come Kubrick’s widow, Buzz Aldrin and others have confessed on film?

IN A NUTSHELL: The “confessions” are part of a 2002 French mockumentary, Opération Lune, which includes interviews with Buzz Aldrin, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Christiane Kubrick and other authoritative figures, who openly admit that the Moon landings were faked. But in the final part of the mockumentary the interviewees reveal that the confessions are just an art prank.

THE DETAILS: There is a series of videos with astonishing confessions about the Moon landings made by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Christiane Kubrick (director Stanley Kubrick's widow) and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, among others. These are not lookalikes and there is no lip-synching by voice impersonators: it’s actually them saying these things. But it’s all part of a cleverly orchestrated prank, directed in 2002 by William Karel and broadcast by European network Arte as Opération Lune (also known as Dark Side of the Moon).

Karel's Dark Side of the Moon was originally a single, 52-minute fake documentary intended to test the gullibility of viewers and play with their sense of reality until the end, when the trick is revealed, but it soon found its way onto the Internet, where it was cut into shorter segments, which were presented out of context and often without including the explanation at the end. Accordingly, it is often cited as evidence by Moon hoax theorists, thus proving Karel’s point about gullibility, albeit in an unintended way.

The mockumentary actually contains several hints to its true nature: for example, if one listens carefully to what Aldrin, Kissinger and Rumsfeld say, it becomes evident that their words are being taken out of context; many of the historical events mentioned are blatantly wrong or false; and several of the names of the interviewees are lifted from famous movies, such as Jack Torrance (from Shining), David Bowman (from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Figure 6-21), Ambrose Chapel from Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, Eve Kendall and George Kaplan (both from North by Northwest). The end credits also include the bloopers made by the famous people interviewed and turned into improvised actors by Karel.

Figure 6-21. A still from William Karel’s Opération Lune (Dark Side of the Moon) (Arte TV, 2002).