A new film about Neil Armstrong has left out the moment he planted the US flag on the Moon.
First Man – from the Oscar-winning director of La La Land Damian Chazelle – opened the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday.
Starring Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, the film begins in 1961 as the US trails the Soviet Union in the space race and takes viewers up to the Moon landing in 1969.
But while Gosling does declare the moment ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,’ critics have noted the absence of the stars and stripes in the film, the Telegraph reports.
A new film about Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling (pictured at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday_ has left out the moment he planted the US flag on the Moon
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin raise the US flag on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission
When the Canadian actor was asked if the film deliberately took the focus away from US patriotism, he said the achievement ‘transcended countries and borders,’ according to the newspaper.
Gosling, 37, said he believes the Moon landing was widely seen as a ‘human achievement’ and that’s what the film reflects.
He added that Armstrong, who died in 2012, was ‘extremely humble’ and deferred focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the Apollo 11 mission possible.
‘He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg – and that’s not just to be humble, that’s also true,’ Gosling explained.
First Man begins in 1961 as the US trails the Soviet Union in the space race and takes viewers up to the Moon landing in 1969. Pictured, Gosling in the film
The Canadian actor (pictured as Armstrong in the film) said the achievement ‘transcended countries and borders’
‘So I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.’
Gosling also joked that he may be biased because he is Canadian. Chazelle is French-Canadian.
The decision to place a US flag on the Moon was controversial at the time with debates over whether a United Nations flag should be used instead.
Armstrong himself said that his job ‘was to get the flag there’ and he was less concerned about what flag it should be.
He said Congress had decided that the Moon landing was a US project.
Co-produced by Steven Spielberg, First Man – which also stars Claire Foy – is based on a 2005 biography by historian James Hansen.
First Man is one of 21 movies in competition for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival which will be awarded on September 8.
First Man is based on a 2005 biography of Neil Armstrong (pictured in 1969) by historian James Hansen