Since debuting with Japón in 2002, Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas has been ruffling feathers. Practicing a distinctive brand of slow cinema that bears the influence of Carl Theodor Dreyer, Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky, he has provoked critics and audiences alike with his intense ideas on love, gender, the landscape and death in such features as Battle in Heaven (2005), Silent Light (2007) and Post Tenebras Lux (2012). Now, after a five-year hiatus, Reygadas returns with Our Time, a remorseless study of marital fidelity, female entitlement and toxic machismo that spirals up to three hours and makes undoubted demands on the viewer. But, while this exercise in extra-fictional neo-realism has irked those unimpressed by the fact that Reygadas has cast his wife and children in key roles, others have recognised the boldness of this courageous bid to examine cinematic truth and celebrate the little details and minor moments that make life worthwhile. 

Juan Díaz (Carlos Reygadas) and Ester Zavela (Natalia López) live on a cattle ranch in Tlaxcala with their children, Juanito (Yago Martinez). Gaspar (Eleazar Reygadas) and Leonora (Rut Reygadas). Younger cousins frolic beside the pond, with the boys having a mud fight, while the girls lounge around chatting in the sun and picking up the pieces of a broken necklace. Eventually, the boys decide to sneak up on the girls in a rubber dinghy and attack them. Meanwhile, an older group of kids drink and smoke dope. Juanito pours beer into Lenora's hair and she forces him to wash it for her in the pond before wandering off alone. One of the other lads asks Juanito what he's looking at, as he watches her disappear. But he merely shrugs. 

Ester is a much better rider than Juan, a poet who enjoys the ranching lifestyle and playing host to his neighbours. He is surprised to hear, however, that Ester is going to Mexico City with American horse-whisperer Phil Russell (Phil Burgers). As they have an open marriage, he is used to her having flings. But the rules are based on honesty and full disclosure and he gets suspicious when Ester Skypes to tell him about a meeting with a website designer and casually mentions that she is going to spend the night at Phil's place to make an early start on work in the morning. 

As the sun rises, a couple of charros ride out in a cart to the bull pen. They notice one of the bulls seems stompingly agitated and flies into a rage when Buddha hits it with his catapult and it charges the cart and goes the mule to death. Juan is shaken by the incident, as the mule was known as `The Ant' and had been one of Ester's favourites. But she seems indifferent when he breaks the news on her return and there is an awkwardness as they walk back to the hacienda and chat with Juanito about leaving for college at the end of the week. When they're alone, Juan asks Ester if anything happened with Phil and suggests she is more spontaneous with her confession next time they meet. However, she insists they merely shared a couple of drunken kisses and Juan is so unconvinced by her explanation that he checks her phone and notes the number of calls to the Gringo.

She texts Phil when she goes with her friend Michelle to see percussionist Gabriela Jiménez performing Gabriela Ortiz's`Concerto Voltaje for Timpani and Orchestra'. The conductor mentions that Juan is one of his oldest friends in announcing that he has just won a major Canadian poetry prize. But Ester is still floating on air after her tryst with Phil and the pounding music reflects the excitement she feels at the sheer physicality of their fling. As she drives back to the ranch the next day, she thinks back to their coupling as she listens to `The Carpet Crawlers' by Genesis on the car stereo. Meanwhile, Juan is out on the range with Lechera and is troubled by the fact that his horse, Rabozo, seems disturbed by something in the air. 

Ester reaches home just as the first rainfall in weeks begins to hammer down and she is amused by Juan riding along in a waterproof poncho to prove what a man he is. She cooks supper and Juan agrees to read Gaspae and Leonora a bedtime story. However, he uses the search for a book to check his wife's phone and discovers she has been lying about how she spent her day. Having confided in Juanito that he misses him when he's at school, Juan confronts Ester about her dalliance and she insists she is trying to get her head around the situation and was waiting for things to settle before making a clean breast. They hug out of shot, but Ester is irritated by Juan's possessive jealousy and they squabble about her lack of communication and his attempts to control her life. 

The following morning, the charros round up the cows for breeding on the rain-sodden range. Water splashes up as the hooves gallop through the puddles. But Juan and Ester remain mired, as he hovers outside the shower to ask her why she is finding it so difficult to be honest about her actions. He feels she is in the wrong because she has resorted to secrecy, while she is tired of being berated when she was trying to handle things in her own way to avoid any unnecessary heartache. 

As the camera fixes on closed door of the hacienda, Leonora assumes narration duties, as Juan wonders what to do next. He realises that what is making Ester unhappy is being away from Phil and that the best way to protect his marriage is to contact him and try to put the affair on a formal footing that suits everyone. Phil sends Juan an e-mail (which is shown as type appearing on a computer screen), in which he apologises for cuckolding him and admits that he would find it difficult to continue the relationship if Juan was party to their actions and was, in some way, able to influence them. Yet, when he offers to break up with Ester, Juan sends him a phone message (which we hear in Phil's voice) in which he explains that they have to find a way out of the mess that suits them all or the marriage will fall apart because Ester will resent him for interfering or because he will forever feel excluded from something that could be mutually accepted if Phil could play the game on Juan's terms. 

They go out with old friend Santiago (Andrés Loewe), who knows about their marital situation. As they get tipsy, Juan slips him the keys to his hotel room as if giving him his blessing to seduce Ester. However, he creeps up to the room and arranges a standard lamp beside the bed and hides behind a half-open door so he can watch Ester betray him. When they stumble into the room, Santiago closes the blinds, but Juan is still able to see as they strip off and make love. An abrupt cut reveals an audience listening to Juan and a moderator named Isabel at a poetry conference. They are discussing the way words are used in verse. But, when Juan Skypes Ester (with his camera broken), she quickly loses patience when he asks her to lift her top after she had just been telling him how unwell she has been. He reassures her that she will soon be fighting fit and dismisses her reluctance to ride with the bulls as a passing phase. When he continues to witter insensitively, Ester loses her temper and bears her breasts to shame him for being so proprietorial without really caring about her or how she is feeling physically or emotionally. 

While he is flying home (and we see a stunning aerial panorama of the countryside and the cityscape abutting the airport), Ester writes a long letter (which we hear in her voice). She explains that she has always felt guilty for luring Juan away from his ex, Paula, and has striven so hard to please him and make him feel he had made the right choice that she had forgotten about herself. All her energies were devoted to being a wife and mother, especially after they moved to the ranch. 

At the outset, she had misgivings about the move and had felt wretched at being away from her friends and having to learn skills to which she felt little affinity. But she knew this was what he wanted and she mastered her new role, even though it buried her true self deeper in the denial she refused to let herself acknowledge. However, the fling with Phil had reawoken her sense of self and she had realised that she had been suppressing her nature to cling on to a dream that wasn't really hers. Ester admits there had been good times and Juan remains her soulmate. But she now knows that she has to be true to herself and she has doesn't yet know how that might pan out. 

As the plane's wheels hit the runaway, Ester falls silent and the white lines down the centre of the tarmac zip past like an unspooling celluloid strip. A cut fills the screen with Diego Rivera mural, as Juan tries to fathom what is going on and where this is going to end. Ester has an inkling that he has been behind Phil's attempts for them to have some sort of threesome and wants nothing to do with it. But, when Phil comes to the ranch to break some horses and Juan gets tipsy during a soirée, he urges his wife and her lover to slip off to the cabin in the grounds together. 

Naturally, the masochistic Juan follows and he clambers on to the stonework to peer through the window as Ester and Phil together. When they move into the bedroom, he creeps in through the door. But they spot him and he slumps on to the sofa in dismay, as he has seen in Ester's eye the look that she used to give him when they first fell in love and he realises that this is far more serious than a casual affair. Phil implores him to calm down because he thinks they are the best couple he knows, but Ester snaps and hurls a chair at Juan before storming out. When he asks if she is ready to talk, she wrestles him to the floor and they tussle for some time, as Ester's fury gets the better of her. 

As Blanca the maid takes Gaspar and Leonora on cycle ride along a muddy lane, Juan tries to write Ester a note in which he urges her to spend some time away so that she can get her thoughts straight. As Leonora (or is it Gaspar) resumes the narration, Juan goes to see his friend Pablo (Joaquín Del Paso), who has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. He has decided to drop out, marry his girlfriend and ease the pain by smoking dope. Typically, Juan makes himself the centre of the situation by deciding that he envies Pablo the prospect of dying in the arms of a woman who adores him and the realisation makes him burst into tears at the bedside. When Pablo asks if he is okay, Juan unthinkingly reassures him that it isn't his imminent demise that has upset him, but something personal. 

Around the breakfast table, Juan and Ester attempt to play happy families, as Leonora jokes about her father giving her the advice to beat up bullies. When she hears her mother choke back a sob, she asks if she is crying and Ester fibs that she squirted lemon juice in her eye. Once the kids have left for school, however, she tells Juan that she knows he has been trying to pull the strings and wreck her relationship and she storms past him. Wandering into the kitchen, Juan learns from Blanca that Phil had called to drop off the keys to the truck. 

It's foggy outside and the camera peers through the milky light to see the cattle in the pasture. One of the bulls tries to pick a fight and locks horns with one of its rivals. He keeps manoeuvring his opponent around the field until they reach an escarpment edge. With a fierce shove, the bull sends its foe plummeting to its death and it stands on the precipice, as the sun begins to burn off the mist, and the image fades, with Juan having resumed his alpha status, but at a still unknowable cost. 

Echoes of Michelangelo Antonioni, the Bergmanesque strain of Woody Allen and Nuri Bilge Ceylan reverberate around this protracted and sometimes simplistic account of a complacent bourgeois intellectual coming a cropper when he tries to treat his wife like one of his chattels. There's little reason to sympathise with Juan, who revels in being the padron of his designer fiefdom as much as he enjoys sneering at those who deign to shower him with accolades and fame. Given that he's such a shallow snob, it's tempting to withhold pity from Ester, who helped break up his first marriage and basks in her spouse's reflected glory, while luxuriating in its trappings. But it soon becomes clear that she is just another possession and who is allowed to indulge an illusion of freedom in return to colluding in her gilded-cage entrapment. 

While it's tantalising to speculate about the extent to which Reygadas and López are playing variations on themselves, such auto/meta-fictional musings are largely an irrelevance. Instead, Reygadas invites us to reflect upon the toxic nature of proprietorial matrimony and patriarchal machismo, as Juan seeks to pimp out his wife on his own terms and for his own prurient amusement rather than afford her the freedom to make her own decisions and be treated as an equal partner in the union. Ester's recognition that she is entitled to room and respect coincides with her affair. But it's not her passion for the American interloper that so troubles Juan, it's the realisation that the shackles have been loosened and that he can no longer keep her penned up like a prize breeding cow.

Although neither Reygadas nor López is primarily an actor, they cope creditably with the demands made by the simmering scenario. Ester isn't a particularly well-drawn character and sometimes feels more like a bundle of traits and tics designed to irritate Juan than a real woman. She's also shown to be an inattentive mother, as Reygadas tilts the balance in Juan's favour by making him an indulgent father and a decent boss, even though his duds have a Roy Rogers pristineness and he baulks when Bianca's cousin asks him to sponsor him in a demolition derby. While his class consciousness is exposed as a sham, he also comes across as a manipulative prig who doesn't deserve his son's comparison with Joseph Conrad, who needed rousing out of his complacency in order to create. 

For all the flaws in the characterisation, however, Reygadas provides plenty of material for post-screening for debate, although this is markedly milder in tone than any of his previous outings (gored mules and exploited wives aside). He also works well with new cinematographer Diego Garcia to create some thrilling widescreen vistas, while also using the widescreen frame and off-screen space to emphasise the distance that has arisen between the protagonists. Raúl Locatelli's sound design is also magnificent, whether it's capturing the lowing of the cattle, the rustle of the wind in the high branches or the slush of the standing water in the fields. 

It's easy to see why some critics have dismissed this meandering ménage as self-indulgent, chauvinist and superficial. But this part-epistolary saga has a textual complexity that belies its narrative simplicity, while it often achieves a visual poetry that few of this year's other films can match. It's no masterpiece, but it's not a navel-gazing bore, either. One puzzle does linger, however. Who on earth is the singer in the cut-price Kiss make-up who performs at the climactic house party?

Having worked together so effectively on the Chet Baker film à clef, Born to Be Blue (2015), actor Ethan Hawke and director Robert Budreau reunite for The Captor, another fictionalisation of actual events that puts a wry comedic spin on the concept of Stockholm Syndrome. Drawing on Daniel Lang's 1974 New Yorker account of the attempt made by Jan-Erik Olsson and Clark Olofsson to rob the Kreditbanken in the Swedish capital in August 1973, this has much in common with Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon (1975), which took its cues from PF Kluge's Life magazine article, `The Boys in the Bank', which recalled the bungled 1972 robbery of a Brooklyn bank by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale. 

Buoyed by the music of Bob Dylan, Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) puts on a wig, a cowboy hat and a leather jacket bearing an Alamo-era Texan flag to pose as an American robbing the Kreditbanken in downtown Stockholm. He allows the majority of the customers and the staff to leave, but gets a clerk to tie up tellers Klara Mardh (Bea Santos) and Bianca Lund (Noomi Rapace) after the latter presses the alarm under her desk. Having shot a gun out of the hand of Vinter (Ian Matthews), a cop who tries to sneak up on him, Lars tells Chief Mattsson (Christopher Heyerdahl) that he wants $1 million, a getaway car and the release of jailed bank robber Gunnar Sorensson (Mark Strong). 

Informing everyone that he is famed bank robber Kaj Hansson and is to be addressed as `The Outlaw', Lars allows Bianca to visit the bathroom and advises her to forget any thoughts she might have about escaping. They are playing cribbage when Gunnar arrives and he promptly finds Elov Eriksson (Mark Rendall) hiding in the CCTV monitoring room. He is added to the unhappy band, just as Bianca's husband, Christopher (Thorbjørn Harr), turns up to offer himself as a hostage in his wife's place. She is touched by his gesture and goes into considerable detail in explaining how to cook a fish supper for their children. 

Mattsson tells Lars that he knows he's not Hansson and warns him that Prime Minister Olof Palme (Shanti Roney) has denied his request to leave the bank with his hostages. Furious, Lars calls Palme and threatens to shoot Bea unless he relents. But he gives him some time to consider his position and Gunnar slaps Bianca across the face when she accuses him of being a coward. Needing somewhere safe to sleep, they decamp to the vault. But Lars allows Bianca to call home and reassures Christopher that he is a decent man who won't harm her, despite the scare stories that Mattsson is spreading on the radio. She has recognised his face from a house invasion in Helsingborg, when he put saving an elderly hostage's life over making his getaway. So, she feels sure he won't do anything to harm her. 

The next morning, Lars demands tampons for Klara and fights to retain his composure when a reporter calls the bank and Bianca talks to him live on air about Palme not caring about their fate. Eager to avoid a political calamity, Palme calls the TV station and is patched through to Bianca who demands to know why he is putting innocent people at risk in order to seem masterful. Lars grabs the receiver and repeats his threat. However, he confides in Bianca that, while he doesn't want to kill anybody, he needs to make Mattsson and Palme take him seriously. He shows her a bulletproof vest and asks her to wear it so that he can fake shoot her when she makes an escape bid. She agrees, but Mattsson and Vitner taunt him about being such a softie that he is probably gay and he threatens them with his gun.

Spotting her chance, Bianca makes a break for the staircase and Lars panics and hits her in the back. He pulls her body behind a pillar and shoots at the cops so he can carry her back to the vault. Klara and Elov are appalled and Gunnar is surprised at what his mild-mannered buddy has done. But they have more to worry about when a microphone is lowered down the air vent and Lars orders Klara and Elov to watch what they say. Taking Gunnar to one side, he wonders whether the cops might try flooding the vault with tear gas and they decide to hole up in the CCTV room. As they leave, however, Bianca comes round after the vest took most of the impact and the others are relieved to see her. 

The TV has reported her as dead, however, and Christopher hears the news from a bulletin. Meanwhile, Mattsson tells detectives Vinter and Jakobsson (John Ralston) that he intends taking control because he is tired of Lars treating him like an idiot. So, when he brings them food and painkillers, he locks them in the vault and informs his underlings to turn off the heating to force the Lars and Gunnar into negotiating. He also implies that Klara and Elov have started to collaborate with their kidnappers, even though he doesn't yet know what Bianca has developed something of a bond with Lars. 

When they drill through the roof to drop a gas line, Lars shoots upwards and grazes the cheek of one of the cops. Gunnar accuses him of behaving like a madman (as he has cut a deal with Mattsson to help talk Lars into surrendering) and they begin fighting. Bianca grabs a gun and orders them to stop before returning the weapon to Lars. 

Covering the hole, Mattsson decides to let them freeze overnight. As the others sleep, Lars commends Bianca on her courage and she tells him how much she wants to go home to her children and elderly parents. She recognises how much he loves Gunnar, who had been his cellmate and given him a new sense of identity. But she just them all to leave safely and her words touch Lars so much that he kisses her and they begin making out while the others doze. 

When morning comes, Mattsson announces that he is about to start the gas. But Bianca has an idea to put nooses around Klara and Elov's necks so that they will asphyxiate if they pass out and Mattsson sends a CCTV camera down to check that Lars is telling the truth (with Bianca playing dead to maintain the illusion). Vexed at being outwitted, he agrees to let them go and kidnappers and hostages alike strap on vests for the walk to the blue Mustang 302 like the one that Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt (1968). 

As they leave, Lars places his radio beside Bianca and Mattsson suspects she's still alive and has been co-operating with her captors and orders a minion to send down some gas. When Bianca twitches and coughs, Mattsson realises he's been duped and has a marksman shoot out one of the front tyres. He rushes out to apologise for the error and urges the quartet to wait inside the bank while the wheel is changed. However, he wants to lure them back into the vault and asks Lars for the key to recover Bianca's body. The moment they open the door, however, she warns Lars that they have been trapped and Jakobsen locks them in again so that Mattsson can unleash his gas. 

Determined not to go back to prison, Gunnar threatens to start shooting, so Lars plugs him in the shoulder. Mattsson turns off the gas and opens the door to inform Gunnar that he is going to go away for a long time. The hostages form themselves around Lars and shuffle into the foyer in a bid to protect him. But he is wrestled to the ground and Bianca is pushed off when she tries to cling to him. Watching on TV, Christopher and his young children are overwhelmed to see Bianca alive and being wheeled out to an ambulance on a gurney. They go to the seaside to help her recover, but she has a faraway look in her eyes and Lars is astonished when she comes to see him in prison because she can't forget the experience they shared together. 

An opening caption proclaiming, `Based on an absurd but true story', rather betrays the fact that this entertaining caper is never quite sure whether it's a psychological thriller or a black comedy. But Budreau and his splendid cast commit fully to the unlikely twists and turns thrown up by a siege that is handled with equal ineptitude by those on either side of the law. Indeed, it often seems as though Bianca is the only person who knows what she's doing, even though her impulsive surrender to Lars's nocturnal advances makes it clear that her lack of faith in the system designed to protect her has caused her to succumb to the syndrome named after her capital. 

Relishing the opportunity to play in a lighter vein, Noomi Rapace bears an uncanny resemblance to Sally Phillips, as she tries to make sense of what's going on around her. The scene in which she acts out the preparation of a simple fish dish for her angst-ridden husband is neatly judged, as are her contretemps with the ever-reliable Ethan Hawke, who makes the misguided Lars a villain worth rooting for. By contrast, Christopher Heyerdahl turns Mattsson into a hissable hero, as he seeks to make a name for himself by flexing his muscles. The only weak link is Mark Strong, who is given far too little to do as a character whose duplicity is never made sufficiently apparent, as he waits to see which way the wind is going to blow to his best advantage.

Capably designed by Aidan Leroux (with lots of wooden panelling in the offices) and photographed by Brendan Steacy to reinforce the sense of the walls closing in on the crooks, the action never quite manages to ratchet up the tension. But this owes as much to Budreau's script as Richard Corneau's editing or the Steve London used score that is less effectively used than such Dylan gems as `New Morning', `Tomorrow Is a Long Time', `Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You' and `To Be Alone With You'.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing on 20 July 1969, two more films have been released to stand alongside Damien Chazelle's First Man and Todd Douglas Miller's Apollo 11, and the reissue on disc of Al Reinert's seminal study of the NASA space programme, For All Mankind (1989). We shall come to David Fairhead's Armstrong presently. But the distaff side of the celebrations is explored with keen insight, if not cinematic panache in Johnny Grogan's Prisoners of the Moon, which draws on co-scenarist Nick Snow's novel, The Rocket's Trail and its spin-off radio drama. Rocket Man, to reflect upon the shadow cast over the space race by Operation Paperclip.

In July 1990, Arthur Rudolph (Jim Norton) was detained at Pearson Airport in Toronto and informed that he would not be able to catch his planned flight to California because his US citizenship had been revoked seven years earlier after he had been accused of war crimes. He protests that this had been a voluntary decision, but he is held in custody while lawyer Barbara Kulaszka (Cathy Belton) prepares his defence.

Dr Michael Neufeld, the Senior Curator at the US National Air and Space Museum puts Rudolph into historical context. He had become interested in aeronautics thanks to Hermann Oberth's 1923 book, The Rocket into Interplanetary Space, and the 1929 Fritz Lang film, Woman in the Moon, on which Oberth had acted as scientific adviser. Rudolph had worked with Austrian rocket pioneer Max Valier and had been standing beside him when he was killed by flying debris from an exploding experimental rocket in 1930. But he forged a more enduring collaboration with Wernher von Braun at the German Army's weapon development centre at Kummersdorf.

They worked together on the A4 rocket at the Peenemünde launch site. But, while Von Braun and Rudolph frequently discussed voyages to the Moon and Mars, their research was also adopted for the V-1 and V-2 rocket systems and visual artist Françoise Dupré recalls how they were launched from the Netherlands to attack London during the later stages of the Second World War. Her testimony is intercut with footage of Apollo 11 landing on the lunar surface and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being congratulated by President Richard Nixon. We also see an interview with Rudolph, in which he claims this as a German triumph in declaring that NASA would not have reached the Moon so quickly without émigré expertise. 

Neufeld recalls how the RAF bombing of Peenemünde prompted the Nazi hierarchy to build a facility in a network of underground tunnels near Nordhausen. Dupré's uncle was forced to work at the factory during his internment at the Mittelbau-Dora camp and Dr Stefan Hördler reveals that 20,000 people perished here with the knowledge of the majority of the German population. Down in the tunnels, Jean Michel (Marty Rea) appears in a blue-striped uniform to recite his testimony about the hellish conditions in which they were forced to work. 

In a mock-up of the Canadian court, Rudolph is represented by Kulaszka against prosecutor Donald McIntosh (Alan Devine). Her first witness is Major General John Medaris (Garrick Hagon), a retired soldier who was ordained as a minister and he clams that Rudolph was a sound engineer who converted dreams into machines. They collaborated on Pershing missiles before Rudolph joined NASA and he insists that he had been cleared by the intelligence agencies and exhibited no form of prejudice in his hearing. He claims that he made a vital contribution to the Berlin Wall coming down by enabling the United States to prevail in the Cold War. When challenged by McIntosh about Rudolph being a member of the Nazi Party and the SA, he admits ignorance and concedes that they had never discussed Rudolph's war record and he had never read the transcripts of his interrogation. 

As we flashback to the immediate postwar period, Dr Monique Laney of Auburn University, Alabama explains how Operation Paperclip attempted to integrate German scientists into American society to prevent them from being captured by the Communists. They were relocated from Fort Bliss to Huntsville, Alabama to work on rocket research and we see footage of Konrad Dannenberg and Ernest Stuhlinger explaining how the Redstone engine they helped develop was a large-scale version of the V-2. Curiously, however, we see nothing of Von Braun, who was the model for the eponymous character played by Peter Sellers in Stanley Kubrick's recently reissues Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

We are also introduced to Eli Rosenbaum, the US Chief War Crime Prosecutor, who had been the director of the Office of Special Investigation between 1994-2010. He reveals how press reports about the Nazi past of some of NASA's major players began to emerge in the 1970s, when Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman lobbied for a proper inquiry into suppressed activities and the Holtzman Amendment made it possible to deport and bar entry to anyone exposed as a war criminal. The OSI interviewed Rudolph in 1982 and the following year and Rosenbaum states that he made some damning admissions before voluntarily leaving the country to avoid a trial. When the papers were allowed to report on the story nine months later, they were able to reveal that slave labour from Dora had been used at the Mittelwerk factory that had produced the doodlebugs. 

There were those, including Ohio Democrat James Traficant, who believed that Rudolph should be allowed to return and the trip to Canada was designed to allow him to cross the Peace Bridge into the US part of Niagara Falls. However, he was detained and we see McIntosh cross-examine him. He being responsible for the mistreatment of the slave labour force, as the SS were in control and the scientists had been warned that they would be punished if they tried to interfere. McIntosh is sceptical because Rudolph was in charge of the plant for a period while Albin Sawatski was away. A mixture of confusion and panic spreads over Rudolph's face, as McIntosh forces him to remember a mass hanging from a crane on the shop floor in January 1945 and Michel wanders into sight like Banquo's ghost to counter the defendant's insistence that he had only seen the aftermath of such executions rather than witnessing or supervising them. 

As the court adjourns, Michel is left alone and he reiterates the cruelty of the conditions he had endured and Rosenbaum recalls how important the 1975 book he had written on Dora with Louis Nucera (Dora: The Nazi Concentration Camp Where Modern Space Technology Was Born) had proved to be in helping the world understand how the slave system had operated and how members of the Von Braun team had identified workers who had attempted to sabotage the missiles. 

When the hearing reconvenes, Kulaszka questions Neal M. Sher (Matt Addis), who had run the OSI between 1982-94. She attempts to discredit the 1947 testimony given against Rudolph by Mittelwerk secretary Hannelore Bannasch by revealing that she later insisted that a poor translation of her words had incriminated Rudolph. Kulaszka suggests that the OSI had little hard evidence in 1982 and invited Rudolph for questioning as part of a fishing expedition. Sher swears that they had plenty of material, but Kulaszka asks why he investigated the period 1939-45 rather than just the Mittelwerk era and concludes that the OSI were hoping that Rudolph would incriminate himself, as they had nothing concrete to prosecute him with. 

When Sher accuses Kulaszka of being a Holocaust denier who had made a nice career out of defending mass murderers, the adjudicator (Ciarán McCauley) intervenes and Neufeld implies that the OSI sought to scare Rudolph into cutting a voluntary deportation deal because they were far from certain that they could make the charges stick at a war crimes tribunal. However, when McIntosh cross-examines Sher, he reveals that the American military had sidestepped President Truman's ban on allowing proven Nazis into the country by airbrushing inconvenient details out of their files. It took until the 1970s for these documents to become available and Sher explains that they found Rudolph's 1931 Nazi Party membership card among the detached papers, as well as a post-interrogation assessment that read, `100 per cent Nazi, dangerous type, security threat, suggest internment'. 

Rudolph was also mentioned in the Dachau war crime trial and Sher then produces a letter from 1943 in which Rudolph recommends that V-2 production should be turned over the detainee labour after seeing it in action at the Heinkel aircraft factory. He denies ever having been to the factory and the adjudicator is unhappy that the source cannot be named. But, as the document appears on screen, Rosenbaum says that this was the smoking gun that Rudolph had been much more than a dedicated scientist who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He explains that using slave labour also made it easier to keep the V-2 secret, as they had no contact with the outside world. 

McIntosh brings Mary Duncan (Marian Quinn) into court to authenticate Rudolph's signature. But the focus rather bizarrely shifts to Rudolph leaving a washroom and wandering into the Mittelwerk factory, where he is confronted by a silent Jean Michel. We cut away to Neufeld explaining that Van Braun and Rudolph were moved to Bavaria in the spring of 1945 to prevent the Allies from capturing them. As the pincer movement began, camp inmates were sent on death marches, while high-ranking Nazi sought to reach zones where they could surrender to the British or the Americans rather than to the Soviets. 

In a home-movie clip, the late John Rison Jones recalls what he saw on entering Nordhausen and the Dora complex. Gruesome footage accompanies his account of the carnage and the savagery. We also hear from Laurent Seillier, from the Centre of History and Memory at La Coupole, as he reads a letter that Jean Michel wrote to a fellow survivor about meeting up in more fortunate circumstances than they ones they had endured. 

Invited to sum up their cases, Kulaszka and McIntosh take very different tacks. She claims the OSI tricked Rudolph into making a plea bargain and have scuffed his achievements in the service of the United States by making him culpable for crimes that took place in his presence, but not on his command. By contrast, McIntosh quotes Edmund Burke's contention that evil triumphs when good men do nothing in affirming that Rudolph played an active part at Mittelwerk and that his claims to have not seen the degradation and exploitation are fabricated. He was a vital cog in a machine in the production of a weapon that killed more in its manufacture than it did in its deployment.

Closing captions reveal that the adjudicator declared Rudolph a credible witness, but sanctioned the decision to deport him. When Kulaszka appealed, the verdict was upheld and the adjudicator was reprimanded for giving Rudolph the benefit of doubt to which he was not entitled. He returned to Germany, where he died in Hamburg on New Year's Day in 1996 at the age of 89.  

Despite the Irish accents of too many cast members burring through, this is an intriguing and damning account of Arthur Rudolph's activities in Nordhausen in the later part of the war. Given the budgetary restrictions, the mix of reconstruction and talking heads just about works, although the conceit of having a spectral Jean Michel prick Rudolph's conscience lacks nuance. Steve Wickham's unsettling score also feels somewhat de trop, in contrast to the stark simplicity of Michael Cummins's courtroom set. 

Nick Snow clearly knows his stuff, however, and the evidence is cogently presented, even though a few too many names and locales are cited without being placed in a context that might have benefited the uninitiated. But, by stressing the heinous nature of Rudolph's crimes in his homeland, Gogan and Snow undercut any credit to which he might have been due for his contribution to the US space programme.

David Fairhead's Armstrong allows us to emerge from the dark side of the Moon story to bask in the glory of the human whose small step transfixed his home planet. This conventional, but informative profile has been rather unfairly compared to the Chazelle and Miller pictures that beat it into UK cinemas, as it capably chronicles Neil Armstrong's life without the benefit of Ryan Gosling's charisma and spectacular new NASA footage. But Fairhead has been given access to previously unseen home movies and deals with certain aspects of the story with a good deal more candour than the fictionalised feature, thanks largely to the contributions of Armstrong's first wife and their two sons. Moreover, this respectful documentary boasts the voice of Harrison Ford as America's most unassuming hero. 

In an interview clip that sums up Armstrong's phlegmatic approach to his newfound celebrity after being named commander of Apollo 11, he deflects comparisons with Christopher Columbus by hoping that his crew reach their intended destination. This modesty is reaffirmed in Ford's voiceover, as Armstrong claims that he is going to the Moon because it's human nature to explore, just as salmon swim upstream. He has no concerns about the mission, although wife Janet concedes that everyone knew the risks, even though they were kept from the couple's young sons, Eric (aka Rick) and Mark. 

As the crowds gather to watch the lift off on 16 July 1969, we head to Armstrong's childhood in Wapakoneta, Ohio for June Hoffman to show us around the grandparental home where her brother was born on 5 August 1930. Fittingly, First Man is playing at the Wapa Theatre, as Fairhead captures the look and feel of the small town in which Armstrong was raised by parents of German descent. June recalls him being a quiet, bookish boy and we hear his father Stephen recalling how mother Viola bought him a 20c model airplane that fired his fascination with flight. He learned to fly before he could drive and pursued engineering at college before joining the US Navy. 

Having got his wings, Armstrong joined the VF-51 fighter squadron under Ernie Beauchamp, who remembers him as being poised and prepared for Korean War action. Fellow pilot Tom Hayward concurs that he was quiet, but confident in combat and letters home reveal how he coped with life aboard USS Essex. One missive describes the loss of close friends in a crash, while another displays his cool under pressure when he was forced to eject after hitting a power cable after being winged. The moderation of his language reveals a man who refused to make a drama out of a crisis and such sang froid would serve him well in the future.

While the world watched Apollo 11 blast off and Rick and Mark reflect on the sensation of watching their father disappear into the heavens, `Earth Angel' by The Penguins takes us back to Purdue University, Indiana in the 1950s, where Armstrong met Janet Shearon and knew right away that she was the girl he was going to marry. They didn't start dating until he became a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert in California in June 1955. 

Fellow X-15 pilot Joe Engle and future astronauts Dave Scott and Frank Borman reminisce about their pioneering work and the risks they took, which outweighed the excitement of flying the most advanced planes in the world. Janet has fond memories of their time in a cabin near Juniper Hills and we see home movie footage of the pair with children Rick and Karen, whom her father called `Muffy'. June remembers her brother doting on his daughter, while Janet notes that she used to tie cow bells to the kids so that she knew where they were above the din of the whistling desert wind.

Into this clear, blue sky came Sputnik, as the Soviet Union launched a missile in October 1957 and Armstrong's friend, Charlie Mechem, and NASA flight controller Christopher Kraft recall the panic that Moscow might be able to drop a nuclear bomb from space. Then, in April 1961, Yuri Gagarin flew around the Earth and President John F, Kennedy summoned the NASA brass to the White House to ask if there was any field of endeavour in which the United States could top the USSR. Thus began the race to the Moon. 

Armstrong was still flying X-15s at Edwards and Apollo 11 colleague Michael Collins suggests he was the best flyer of the team. He and Engle recall a flight in which he realised that the plane wasn't responding in the usual manner. But he bided his time and waited until he re-entered the atmosphere and performed a perfect landing. His recollection of the episode is customarily nonchalant, but the archive footage is cleverly cut to suggest an emergency in the offing and both Engle and Collins agree that such unfussy professionalism was typical of the man. 

However, when Karen died of a brain tumour when she was just three years old, Armstrong was devastated and threw himself into his work as a way of coping. Heart-rending home movie clips show Karen struggling to walk during her last Christmas and June and Janet testify to the impact her loss had on Armstrong. Seeking a change of scene, he applied to join NASA's Apollo programme in Houston, Texas in September 1962. Mark was born soon afterwards, as a supportive community sprang up around the project. 

Borman and Collins join flight director Gerry Griffin in commenting on how introspective and focused Armstrong was, although he could be good company once he was convinced you were worthy of his time and effort. Following the Mercury flights, the Gemini missions began to venture further into space for longer spells and Armstrong was teamed with Scott on Gemini 8. In taking off on 16 March 1966, he became the first non-service male to go into space after Valentina Tereshkova had become the first civilian in Vostok 6 three years earlier. While he devoted himself to training, however, Janet was left to raise the boys, who consider her `an unsung hero', as she often operated in the dark because their father wasn't the most communicative of people. 

But she wasn't someone to be messed with, as NASA discovered when Gemini 8's planned docking with the Agena target vehicle had to be aborted because the craft went into a violent spin. When Mission Control turned off the SWAT box carrying the radio chatter to her home, Janet stormed round to the Space Centre to demand to know what was going on. However, Armstrong's ability to remain sanguine under pressure came into its own when he decided to undock and use the Re-Entry Control System to correct the problem. It was a last resort, but Scott recalls how his colleague had stayed alert and forgave him for missing the splashdown rendezvous in the Caribbean by landing near Okinawa. 

As we see monochrome footage of his homecoming parade in Wapakoneta, Borman, Kraft and Griffin concur that his performance proved he had the right stuff. In making a speech, Armstrong shuffles uneasily at the podium, as Janet looks on. She clearly balances the adulation her husband is receiving with the anxiety that she had to endure during the flight and the dangers of rocketeering are made manifest when Armstrong's buddy Ed White perished in a launch pad inferno with co-pilots Virgil Grissom and Roger Chaffee in January 1967. Kraft implies that haste prompted some reckless decisions, but Borman affirms that, while everyone mourned, they also got on with the job because they had faith in the goal and the equipment. 

Such was the frequency of Apollo missions that NASA grew increasingly confident that it could launch a Moon probe in July 1969. Command module pilot Michael Collins cites Armstrong's combat and test piloting experience as a main reason for his selection, while Kraft claims to have challenged crew schedule chief Deke Slayton's initial decision to have Buzz Aldrin lead the descent party by noting that Armstrong would be a better ambassador once the crew returned to Earth. Kraft admits he wasn't a fan of Aldrin, but Armstrong's memoir praises his flying skills (while also alluding to certain eccentricities), as well as Collins's cheerful excellence. He also states that they resented being paraded in front of the media in the days before take-off and admits that they were probably a month or two under-prepared. But he accepts that they were in a race and time was of the essence. 

On 20 July, Armstrong remembered wondering how an Ohio farm boy came to be at the controls of the Eagle, as it neared the lunar surface. As astronaut and the CapCom voice co-ordinating communication with the capsule, Charlie Duke knew that things were not going as smoothly as they might. The radio link kept cutting off and a `1201 alarm' kept sounding from one of the computers. Moreover, the lander had drifted away from its intended target. But Armstrong drew on all of his experience to take manual control of the craft and, with only 5% fuel left and Mission Control within 30 seconds of aborting, bring it down safely (`The Eagle has landed'). Even now, Duke remembers being in awe of Armstrong's unflappability, as he joked that everyone in Houston had been turning blue because they had been holding their breath. 

Aboard the module, Armstrong and Aldrin exchanged a silent handshake, while Janet had to deal with the press on her doorstep asking what keepsake her husband had taken to the Moon with him. Famously, he messed up his line on stepping off the ladder, as he missed an indefinite article in uttering the unforgettable phrase, `It's one small step for man. One giant leap for Mankind.' But he was conscious of the fact they had a job to do and handled President Richard Nixon's phone call from the Oval Office with trademark phlegm, as he accepted the congratulations and deflected any patriotic bravura by claiming they represented all nations and the vision of the future. 

As we see colour photographs of the duo going about their business, we hear an audio montage of people from around the world claiming that the event had brought humanity closer together for one brief moment. Sister June recalls Armstrong telling her how struck he was by the remote fragility of Earth and Ford reads the lines about the need to protect it from the human population that takes its remarkable complexity for granted. If there was ever a more powerful or profound ecological message, it's hard to think of it. 

Back on the Columbia command and service ship, Armstrong thanked the boffins who had made the mission possible. On 24 July, he splashed down in more or less the right part of the Pacific and joined Aldrin and Collins in an 18-day quarantine period before being feted across the globe for their unprecedented achievement. He didn't particularly enjoy being the centre of attention, but recognised that certain responsibilities came with being First Man. As the spokesman for the trio, he addressed grand gatherings and even joined Bob Hope at a VSO show for the troops in Vietnam. Rick jokes that it was a mercy that social media hadn't been invented, as his father was bombarded with mail, some of it merely addressed to `Neil Amstrong, USA'.

Not everyone was so jubilant, however, as novelist Norman Mailer told chat show host Dick Cavett that Apollo had been a massive waste of money. Armstrong refused to raise to the bait, in the same way he deflected the credit he didn't feel he deserved. Once his obligations to NASA had been fulfilled, therefore, he withdrew to Lebanon, Ohio to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He also served on the board of several companies and accepted President Ronald Reagan's invitation to front the investigation into the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster of 28 January 1986. 

This workload kept him away from home for extended periods. Thus, while he developed a passion, if not a proficiency for golf and enjoyed playing with his sons, his relationship with Janet reached breaking point and they divorced after 38 years at her instigation in 1994. Indeed, it was at a golf tournament that Armstrong met second wife Carol Knight and they married later the same year. Janet claims to be glad he met her and pleased that he slowed down a little and relaxed in the latter part of his life, which ended on 25 August 2012 following what appeared to have been successful open-heart surgery. He was 82. 

Armstrong conceded that he had never ceased to be a white-socked nerd with a protractor in his pocket and this humility shines through this fittingly low-key study. Fairhead strives to keep the focus on the personal aspects of his career by giving plenty of airtime to his sons and ex-wife, who died in June last year. But, while Michael Collins makes an expectedly self-effacing contribution, the absence of Buzz Aldrin raises a lot of unintentional and unanswered questions.

Following Armstrong in adopting a steady approach to his material, Fairhead makes a fair fist of paying homage without overdoing the adulation. He is certainly au fait with his subject, having co-edited Mark Craig's The Last Man on the Moon (2014) and David Sington and Heather Walsh's Mercury 13 (2018) with Paul Holland, who, once again, proves a reliable collaborator. There's one regrettably clumsy moment that sees a close-up of Roger Chaffee cropping up during the discussion of the 30 candidates under consideration for the Apollo 11 mission, as he had died two years earlier in the ill-fated Apollo 1. Chris Roe's score also has its floridly triumphal passages. But, otherwise, this is an assured and sincere memorial to an extraordinary everyman.

As British audiences have been denied the opportunity to see Errol Morris's controversial documentary, American Dharma, they will have to get their insights into the mind and method of Steve Bannon from Alison Klayman's The Brink. Following the compelling profile, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012), and the troubling psychopharmacological study, Take Your Pills (2018), this stealthy snapshot confirms Klayman as a film-maker to watch, as she refines the tag-along technique pioneered by Robert Drew in Primary (1960) to examine the ideology of Donald Trump's erstwhile strategist and expose the gambits he employs to disseminate it. 

While making Torchbearer, his 2016 profile of reality eccentric Phil Robertson, Steve Bannon visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. He recalls experiencing a greater feeling of unease at the latter site and explains that, while Auschwitz was a commandeered Polish cavalry college, Birkenau was built from scratch to specific designs by ordinary people in the Third Reich's major corporations. He marvels that they were able to detach themselves from the moral horror of their project to ensure that it fulfilled its grim purpose with the maximum efficiency and efficacy.  

At the Breitbart Embassy in Washington, DC in the autumn of 2017, Bannon samples a smoothie prepared by his nephew-assistant, Sean, and jokes about how overweight he was during the presidential campaign that took Donald Trump to the White House. The late addition to the roadshow of the chairman of the far-right website Breitbart News caused something of a stir in the media. While in office, he was the brains behind the Muslim travel ban initiative, but he resigned shortly after the `Unite the Right' rally got out of hand in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. 

He claims not to be sorry to be out, as the karma in the West Wing is so bad and he hated being constantly constrained. Instead, he uses his newfound status to cheerlead for Trump without having to mind his Ps and Qs. We see him address a GOP Unity dinner in Macomb County, Michigan and be feted for warning against fake news and promoting the cause of `economic nationalism'. He poses for endless photos backstage in his bid to convert people to populism and launches a non-profit organisation to take his cause to the country.  

Republican strategist Andy Surabian and Raheem Kassam, the founding editor of Breitbart London, are concerned about the legality of the 501(c)(4) tax status of Bannon's initiative. But he brushes their worries aside by getting them to focus on the suitability of `Citizens for America' as the name for his group. Republican Congress candidate Lena Epstein seeks Bannon's endorsement for their campaigns and wishes that Trump had been unable to sign her pregnancy bump to show how a new generation of supporters was coming through. But he is more impressed by African-American Senate hopeful John James, who is more interested in discussing ideas and strategy rather than gimmicks. 

When he does agree to back a candidate, however, Bannon selects Alabama Senate contender Judge Roy Moore, a divisive judge who has been accused of abusing woman and underage girls. However, he sticks with him and uses a speech at The Citadel military college in South Carolina to accuse Jeff Bezos of Amazon of leaking the negative stories about Moore in the same way he had pushed the Billy Bush interview with Trump during the presidential campaign. When a woman heckles him, Bannon jokes that she must be one of his ex-wives before posing for pictures and always insisting on putting `a rose between two thorns'. 

He rides this and ignores the protest marches against his backing Moore because he knows that he has loyal support in the Trump heartlands. This becomes clear during his show on Breitbart's talk radio network, during which he reveals that he drinks Kombucha tea and jokes that this admission will decimate its stock value. The backing is also evident at a rally where he chides Ivanka Trump for wading into the Moore debate by claiming that there is a `special place in hell for people who prey on children'. But the tide had turned and Moore is defeated. 

Bannon's woes increase when Michael Wolff publishes Fire and Fury and widens the rift with Trump by declaring a Trump Tower meeting between Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian agent as `treasonous'. As a result, Trump coins the nickname `Sloppy Steve' and we hear lots of media buzz about the feud. But Bannon calmly quotes from a biography of Abraham Lincoln, in which he compares his own situation with a bid to marginalise the 16th president. 

Fired by Breitbart and abandoned by financial backers Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Bannon spends time with Dan Fleuette putting photos from his time at Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs online. He finds a college class president flyer in which he calls himself `the only real choice' and he jokes in reminiscing that he was prevented from taking office because he was on probation for thumping somebody at a keg party. 

Nigel Farage comes to pay his respects and complains about the mess the Tories are making of the Brexit negotiations. Bannon tells him that they are firebreathers who are shaping the zeitgeist by being on the right side of history. He moots a right-leaning corpus of like-minded party leaders that could meet to refine the political and economic ideas that will determine a new future. Interestingly, Farage keeps quiet when Bannon crows that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn can never succeed because they refuse to grasp the immigration nettle. But he is happy to blow smoke about Bannon becoming a power in the nation after his Alabama speech. 

As Klayman cuts between news clips and shots of Bannon in his private plane, we see how populist movements gained traction in France, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Italy by invading traditional left-wing territory and playing on fears about jobs and services rather than immigration. In Hungary, he calls for the building of an `old-school Christian democracy', while Marine Le Pen paraphrases Bannon's phrase about a person's citizenship being more important than their race, religion or sexual orientation. No wonder, he claims that political ideas spread like financial trends on the world's various stock markets, as he is confident that he can bring these groupings together to consign liberalism to the dustbin of history. 

Lurching forward to the summer of 2018, Klayman catches up with Bannon in London. He gets grilled by Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain and coos in the cab about how tough she is, as Raheem Kassam takes him along Edgeware Road to show him how it has been taken over by Arabs. Bannon is more bothered about having his credibility threatened by a woman, but he makes the right noises when Kassam points out a Sharia bank. Guardian journalist Paul Lewis questions him about his pan-European initiative and he brushes aside any suggestions that there are numerous obstacles blocking its path. Scouring the papers in his customary two shirts, he declares China, Iran and Turkey constitute a new Axis and wonders why he is the only person to have noticed the combined threat they pose. 

While Trump visits London and tells the press about the problems that immigration is causing on mainland Europe, Bannon meets with National Rally spokesman Jérôme Rivière and Marine Le Pen's partner, Louis Aliot. He claims to be an honest broker offering advice to whoever needs it, as part of a plan to boost support for populist parties during the 2019 EU elections. Bannon and Farage host a lunch with Mischaël Modrikamen of the Belgian People's Party. Kassam and John Thornton, the ex-president of Goldman Sachs, are also in attendance and the former later invites Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar to say grace before a meal with another Belgian, Filip Dewinter of the Vlaams Belang Party, and Sweden Democrats leader, Kent Ekeroth. Bannon and Kassam urge them to use the media because the mainstream's obsession with right-leaning politics will give them air time to get their message across. 

During his stay in London, Bannon also meets with various journalists to tell them what he's doing and the hopes he has for his scheme to create a unifying think tank. He flies to Italy to meet with the Northern League's Eurosceptic Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and brings him into the fold at the start of a whistlestop tour of France, Hungary and Italy, in which he demonises the media and claims that they brand patriots as racists for wanting to protect cherished national traditions. As the screen fills with headlines from outlets across the continent, it's evident that few concur with Bannon's reading of the situation. But they also concede that he is having an effect in harnessing what he calls raw political power.

Back in the United States, Bannon makes a film entitled Trump @ War to rally Republican support in the 2018 Mid-Terms. When Klayman asks about the merits of using outrage as a political tool, he mocks her suggestion he is producing propaganda and wonders how Leni Riefentahl (who directed the 1935 Nazi paean, Triumph of the Will) would cut that scene. He also launches Citizens of the American Republic, which is protected by the C4 legislation passed by the Citizens United Supreme Court, which can take unlimited money from corporate sources without having to disclose it. 

Among those he meets with at this time are Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater, and Miles Kwok of Guo Media, who prove to be enthusiastic supporters. The latter claims he could exert huge influence in China and, while boasting of his influence in the region, Bannon gets very defensive when Klayman challenges his pronunciation of Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan's name. 

By the autumn of 2018, Bannon and Modrikamen have launched The Movement and they meet in Venice, where the former fails to attend the festival premiere of Errol Morris's aforementioned documentary. During a discussion about a website, they call Kassam and Bannon so loses patience with him that he puts nephew Sean in charge of the European operation and complains to Modrikamen that Kassam and Farage are lazy attention-seekers who want to bask in the spotlight without doing any hard graft. It's an amusing moment, but also one that shows Bannon's mask slipping for the first time and it says much that he implicates the camera in his rant in contrast to the earlier way in which Prince resisted speaking his mind on the record. 

During a lull, Klayman asks the 64 year-old if he regrets sacrificing his private life for the cause. But he explains that he has always been a workaholic and is aware that he needs to work quickly, as Trump will be president for a limited time and that his own span is finite. However, he is convinced that the work he is doing will still be impacting upon the world in 20 years time, as his rise to prominence has been divinely ordained . 

The Guardian's Paul Lewis returns for a second interview and pulls few punches in accusing Bannon of associating with far-right and anti-Semitic politicians in Europe. But he insists that he won't tolerate the extremist views of the likes of Dewinter and Enkroth and Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Brothers of Italy, denies Lewis's contention that Neo-Fascism is on the rise in Italy. Bannon also refutes claims his comments about George Soros are in any way anti-Semitic. Lewis loses his temper when the interpreter tries to intervene and Bannon admonishes him for being rude. He also attempts to laugh off Lewis's suggestion that his statements represent a kind of dog whistle racism and the patronising manner in which Bannon pats him on the shoulder as he leaves the room says much for his somewhat smug self-assurance. 

While in Venice, Bannon is disinvited from the New Yorker Festival for being a figurehead for white nationalism. Around the same time, the New York Times ran an anonymous Op-Ed from someone inside the Trump White House denouncing the administration for its incompetence. Bannon hisses the names of possible conspirators into a phone and declares an attempted Republican establishment coup against an elected president. So, he returns Stateside and takes Trump @ War on tour of marginal seats and rallies the troops by claiming that know-nothing left-leaning kids are going to try to steal their country away from their elders and betters. 

In Venice, Bannon had openly admitted that his film was propaganda. On the stump, however, he presents it as impartial fact and the converted lap it up. COAR member and Trump adviser Sam Nunberg joins the tour on another private plane and Bannon jokes that the film is going to slay him because of all the luxury he enjoys. Chugging down Red Bull, Nunberg boasts about having come up with the Mexico Wall idea and persuading Trump to use Twitter. Bannon calls him a genius, but reminds him that he's not the president's buddy. Neither is he, but he continues to work to support him because he likes winners. 

At a press conference, Bannon reiterates the idea that he doesn't need to be Trump's pal to champion his cause. He applauds him for using the term `nationalist' in defending his right to put America first and recognises the value of harnessing the people's anger and hatred because they prompt them into defending their turf. We hear middle-class women asking why George Soros hasn't been arrested for funding the migrant caravans, as well as bileful speeches from former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The arrest of parcel bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc makes the news, but Fleuette says he's surprised the devices were sent to Soros, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when lefties are usually the more violent ones (apart from cranks like Oklahoma Bomber, Timothy McVeigh. 

When 11 people are gunned down in the Tree of Life synogogue in Pittsburgh, Bannon defends his use of the term `globalist' and insists it's not anti-Semitic. When Klayman tries to get him to focus on the violent attacks, he continues to dwell on his terminology and not the wider hate issues. The weekend before the Mid-Terms, he flies to Toronto for a debate on populism with conservative commentator David Frum. Even though the audience diametrically opposes his views, they laugh at his wisecracks and Thornton meets him backstage and suggests that Bannon does more of this kind of event, as it will reinforce his intellectual credentials and showcase him as the respectable brains behind The Movement. 

In the days before the ballot, Bannon is tetchy, as he fears the worst and knows any setback will have a detrimental impact upon the cause. He tells Klayman that the Border Wall will be over if the Republicans lose the House and he snarls at his number crunchers for their ineptitude when he tries to get some worthwhile statistics out of them. A number of European big-hitters attend the results soirée, along with Wolff and Kassam. Once again, Nunberg is on the wrong end of Bannon's wrath and he despairs of having to rely on gumby minions, especially as he recognises that this is a bad night for The Movement and for President Trump, as the reinvigorated and re-engaged Democrats have a target to aim for. 

As the documentary closes, Bannon takes pride in being in the vanguard of a global revolution. Captions reveal that he continues to travel extensively, even though many far-right leaders in Europe have distanced themselves from him. However, Kwok has announced plans to put him in charge of the $100 million `Rule of Law Fund'. And, so, the Bannon bandwagon rolls on.

Although it's clear where Alison Klayman's sympathies lie, some have suggested that she gives Bannon an easy ride and allows him to display the perfidious wit, intelligence and charm that might lure floating voters into his camp. However, while she avoids the kind of grandstanding antics we have come to expect from Nick Broomfield and Louis Theroux in satirising their subjects, Klayman adopts the subtle approach taken by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg in profiling New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner in Weiner (2016). Bannon is no fool and mostly avoids any of the pitfalls into which he might have plunged. But he is also overweeningly conceited and his readiness to take on Klayman at his own game periodically results in a careless word or an injudicious outburst. 

One suspects that Klayman's access to Bannon was reasonably limited and that she has had to make the most of snatched moments rather than the extended exclusivity that Tim Travers Hawkins had with Chelsea Manning while making XY Chelsea (2019). She is rarely allowed, for example, to eavesdrop on the nittier grittier aspects of Bannon's meetings with his alt-right brethren. But, in catching the odd flash of frustration and jag of rage, she and editors Brian Goetz and Marina Katz expose the sham nature of the good ol' boy persona and leaves viewers questioning the motives and integrity of a maverick whose unaccountability makes him much more dangerous than his erstwhile master. The worry thing, however, is that Bannon believes `there is no bad media' and, thus, will probably regard this mildly self-inflicted wound as a hit worth taking for the team.

Imagine if Donald McGill and Kenneth Clark had joined forces on a documentary about Spanish archipelagoes, it might have ended up looking a bit like Julien Temple's Ibiza: The Silent Movie. With a soundtrack by Norman `Fatboy Slim' Cook, this is anything but a silent study. Indeed, it follows the formula perfected in London: The Modern Babylon (2012) of jumbling together archive clips to create a hip travelogue. The odd reconstruction has been tossed into the mix, as Temple asks prospective revellers to show the island more respect and discover what it has to offer outside the nightclubs that have transformed (and, to a large degree, tarnished) its image. It's hardly the most subtle of concoctions. But it means well and we should be grateful that Temple didn't revisit his Sex Pistol days and call it A Kick in the Balearics.

According to Nostradamus in an opening caption, `Ibiza will be the final refuge on Earth.' Colourful intertitles follow a credit sequence stuffed with hedonistic excess to explain that anything is possible at a Party Central that is essentially a living experiment in Utopianism, Ibiza was formed 500 million years ago when Africa and Europe collided to leave an island that could fit inside London three times over. The first settlers were the Phoenicians in 654 BC and they named the paradise after Bes, the god of dance, who is amusingly portrayed here by Bez of The Happy Mondays, as he drives away the demons troubling the dreams of the higher deities. 

The inventors of the first alphabet and taking their own name from their purple clothing, the Phoenicians built a strategic citadel on the island and introduced the distinctive Podenco dog. Mention of Tanit, the goddess of fertility, provides an excuse for a stylised sacrificial rite that explains Ibiza's seasonal rains that soak the red soil. Representations of Tanit are based on a bust at the archaeological museum. But this is a fake goddess, as the statue depects the Greek goddess, Demeter. 

Giving the captions a graphic style that might have come from the credits of a 1950s Hollywood sci-fi B, Temple informs us that the island of Es Vedra is one of the most magnetic points on the planet. Some believe there is a UFO base beneath it, while others claim it as the home of those fatale femmes, the Sirens. Cream's `Tales of Brave Ulysses' can be heard, as a clip from Mario Camerini's Ulysses (1954) is cannily cut to show Kirk Douglas lashed to the mast of his ship in trying to resist the allure of a topless Siren and her draped companions. 

Another peplum snippet - this time from Edgar G. Ulmer and Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia's Hannibal (1959) - accompanies the revelation that the Carthaginian general who challenged the might of Rome in 218 BC was born on the island. All attempts by the Romans to eradicate all traces of Phoenician and `Cartagian' [surely sic?] society appeared to have been successful until a 1984 hotel development project uncovered a necropolis dedicated to Tanit. However, the workers wasted no time in smashing the place and decimating 2500 years of history in under half an hour. 

For all their vandalism, the Romans liked Ibiza and its endless supply of salt. Slaves were often blinded by the relentless sun burning their retinas, while the soldiers who guarded them were partly paid in salt (hence somebody not being worth their salt). The nickname, `The White Island', has stuck and Temple makes a joke about this referring salt and not cocaine. However, Ibiza has long had a reputation of being a welcoming place, even when the Moors conquered it in 901 AD and held on to it for the next 400 years. 

They terraced the mountains and did such a good job of irrigating the island that it only faced its first water shortage a thousand years later because of the onset of tourism. By 1985, Ibiza Town's salinated tap water became undrinkable after the so-called `Water Mafia' teamed up with local developers to buy up the Moorish well system and divert it to the hotel zone. This gives Temple the excuse to show lots of buxom women in bikinis frolicking in fountains, as he reveals how many of the almond trees planted by the Moors have perished in the drought. 

The Islamic phase ended in 1235, when the king was so dismayed by his brother eloping with his favourite dancing slave girl that he failed to notice that the Catalan forces of King Jaume were pouring in through the citadel gates left open by the fleeing lovers. Cue the knowing footage from Anthony Mann's El Cid (1961). But, before we move on to the news that Christopher Columbus was born on Ibiza, we learn that over eight billion selfies were taken on the island during the last tourist season, which makes it the most photo-narcissist place on Earth. The fact is commemorated by a giant egg bearing a model of the Santa Maria, which stands in the middle of a roundabout in San Antonio. 

Emerson Lake and Palmer's version of `America' blasts out over clips of Fredric March in David MacDonald's Christopher Columbus (1949). But the musical tone becomes more sombre, as captions reveal that the discovery of the New World condemned Ibiza to 500 years of poverty, as it was bypassed by trading ships and beset by Barbary pirates. In desperation, some turned to smuggling and it's rumoured that the Matutes family began to amass its fortune through money lending. The clan opened Ibiza's first theatre in 1898 and founded its own bank in 1933. 

The previous year, Austrian Dadaist Raoul Hausmann had settled on the island after fleeing growing Nazi influence in Berlin. He set up house with his wife Hedwig and mistress Vera and they are soon joined by Tristan Tzara, Albert Camus and Walter Benjamin, As we hear the strains of a traditional Redoblada, Temple informs us that Hausmann became an expert in the island's finca cottages and suggests how they influenced the building of a large hotel. In addition to introducing topless sunbathing and skinny-dipping, the Dadaists also opened a nightclub in a windmill and Adolf Hitler supposedly sent spies to the island to report back on the decadent behaviour. Amusingly, Temple shows us the elderly DJ Alfredo spinning 78s on a wind-up gramophone. 

Things were about to change, however, as 1933 saw Francisco Franco appointed Commandante Militar for the Balearic Islands. Having witnessed a sunset at San Antonio, he decides Ibiza has commercial potential and sets up a tourist board and starts building three hotels. Never one to resist the provocative image, Temple shows Franco saluting the sun (in a manner that recalls Peter George's Surf Nazis Must Die, 1987) before taking a selfie to remember the moment. As old movie footage shows the swinging lifestyle, Walter Benjamin laments that the island has been ruined beyond recovery. 

A Hitler emoji accompanies the revelation that Fascism was spreading across Europe and the Dadaist heyday had ended before the Spanish Civil War reached Ibiza on 7 August 1936, when Raoul Villain, who had assassinated French socialist Jean Jaures 16 years earlier, is captured and executed on the same beach that is now a suntrap. A combat montage follows to Primal Scream's `Swastika Eyes', which ends with the rather crass caption that claims `Both sides commit appalling atrocities during the Civil War.' While the Republicans killed nearly half the island's priests, burnt many churches and arrested the leading landowners, the Fascists hunted down the eldest son of every left-leaning family, herded them into lorries and shot them in the hills. 

Somewhat gratuitously, Temple intercuts images of a black big being dragged to its slaughter with references to Hitler and Benito Mussolini lending Franco aerial support to bomb Ibiza Town in a dry run for the destruction of Guernica (which affords designer Jonny Halifax the chance to pastiche Picasso in the title card). In reprisal for the 55 civilian deaths, Republican guards kill 100 Falangist prisoners. But, when Franco seizes the island, he executes the same number of Republicans in the same prison courtyard. Between 1939-42, Formentera becomes a concentration camp for political dissidents awaiting execution. Many died of starvation. 

In 1942, the Gestapo arrived in Old Ibiza to round up Gypsies and Jews. However, the locals refused to identify suspects and Temple notes the irony that Ibiza became a refuge for fleeing Nazis at the end of the Second World War. The title card showing Franco kowtowing to a jackboot sporting a Stahlhelm is a bit bovine, however, as is the re-enactment of the revenge killing of a Gestapo bigwig by a Ibizan artist, while his buddies drink fine wines in their uniforms in his hideout. As his car is pushed over a cliff into the sea, a caption reveals that the last Nazi was spotted on the island as late as 2006. 

A naked saxophonist stands in the sea to herald the start of the Beatnik era in the 1950s, when it was possible to live for a year on an average weekly wage (but Temple doesn't say where `back home' is). They frequented the Domino Bar, which became a doper's delight and the island's first discotheque, which got its name because sailors used to leave their records as a kind of lending library for hepcats. As we hear `Bohemian Like You' by The Dandy Warhols, we see footage of Franco returning to Ibiza and deciding that Spain could do with a cut of the cash being raked in by the locals. He decides to turn a blind eye to the antics that would be forbidden elsewhere and he builds an airport to defy a UN ban (and baffle a Phoenician soldier standing on the runaway). 

By 1965, 100,000 tourists a year were making a beeline for Ibiza. While they live in the lap of luxury, half the islanders work the land, with many leading a pre-monetary existence. Exploiting his status within Franco's regime, Pedro Matutes buys up swathes of supposedly useless coastal land from the womenfolk who had inherited it (while their brothers had been bequeathed the supposedly more valuable arable land). Hotels sprang up everywhere and the playground reputation enticed the likes of art forger Elmyr de Hory, who arrived on Ibiza in the 1960s. Orson Welles came to profile him in F For Fake (1973) and De Hory joked that he had never once had a bogus masterpiece rejected by a leading museum. But, for all his bonhomie, his conscience clearly caught up with him, as he committed suicide on the island in 1976 - although, as his body was never found, many believe he faked his own death, too. 

As Traffic's `Paper Sun' and King Crimson's `Formentera Lady' play on the soundtrack, the intertitles turn psychedelic, as Vietnam draft dodgers join the hippies seeking to escape a consumerist society. All smoke a lot of dope (often, apparently, while stark naked) and embrace the simple lifestyle that the locals were keen to consign to history, as they started selling crafts and traditional clothing to eager visitors. As Pink Floyd's `Dark Side of the Moon' plays over footage of hippies creating an inflatable play pen, headshots reveal that their drop-out idyll brought the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Ursula Andress, Roman Polanski, Joni Mitchell, Nico, Terry-Thomas, Leslie Phillips, Bob Marley and Denholm Elliott to the island.

A young Sid Vicious grew up on Ibiza in the late 1960s, as his mother hustled a living at the hippie camps. According to the caption, this explains why Sid became `the first monster child' of the hippie generation. Superclubs Pacha, Amnesia and Ku all started out as hippie fincas, but no one has profited more since the disco boom began than Abel Matutes y Juan, who began buying up coastal plots on becoming mayor in 1970. A Monopoly board reveals that El Padrino owns 10% of the island's real estate and has fingers in lots of other pies. 

Annual tourist figures hit the half a million mark in the 1970s and a dull montage of jet-setting pretty things and hard-partying plebs follows. Glimpses of Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones are intercut with shots of old señoras mayores smiling at their antics, as they tried to reconcile the loss of the island's innocence with its newfound affluence. By the mid-80s, two million holidaymakers a year were descending on Ibiza to dance along to the Balearic Beat combining Euro Pop, Salsa and Reggae. Yet, there were still Ibicenso farmers living in the middle of the island who had never seen the sea. 

King of the Spins was DJ Alfredo at Amnesia, where Ecstasy became the drug of choice after it was imported by the Bhagwan Rajneesh cult. But the tone changed again in the 1990s, as Russian oligarchs, corrupt politicians and reformed Mafiosi became regular visitors, who recognised the value of a place where they could launder their ill-gotten gains. They also circumvented planning laws to build mega villas in quaintly quiet corners and helipads and golf courses sprang up to cater for them. As Eden became spoilt, it was almost inevitable that the snakes that Bes had driven away should return in their droves. 

Not that many of the four million swooping on the island each year in the mid-90s noticed, as the nocturnal holiday became a thing. Despite laws outlawing open-air dance floors, Space defied the ruling and round-the-clock partying became the norm. Crushingly dull footage of lairy drunks and half-naked poseurs getting splattered by a foam cannon follows, as Fatboy Slim himself can be seen whipping up the crowds into a frenzy to the mantra `Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat'. 

San Antonio became the haven for uncouth UK youth and Temple cuts from shots of spewing slobs to archive footage of the traditional inhabitants who had been driven from their homes. A couple of cross-cuts shows the empty morning after streets, which have been remodelled to resemble a British seaside cliché. Adding an extra touch of class were the drug gangs from Manchester and Liverpool, who took over the supply trade to the moronic party animals desperate to fuel up for their week-long lost weekend. 

By 2004, 40,000 Ecstasy tablets are being sold each night on Ibiza, as its reputation becomes toxic. With desalinated tap water being undrinkable and the wasted kids being unable to afford the inflated prices for bottled water, the local hospitals are overrun with dehydrated drug casualties. The ensuing outcry led to the banning of non-stop parties and the brats who couldn't do what they wanted when they wanted started to stay away. Needing to maintain revenue streams, the club and hotel owners cleaned up their acts and began to diversify by Miamiising the beach-front venues to cater for older, wealthier patrons looking for some gentle R&R in a discreet getaway. 

Beach shack bars were replaced by exclusive clubs charging exorbitant prices that kept the riff-raff away. In 2011, Grupo Mutates opened the Ushuaïa hotel to further refine the clientele. However, it recognised the popularity of open-air raves and ignored the laws relating to clubs by claiming immunity as a hotel. When challenged, Mutates claimed that noise was a small price to pay for the income tourism generated. Yet the new VIP culture was largely despised for pricing out the young clubbers who had given Ibiza its edge (hang on, weren't these harmless fun seekers being demonised as community-wrecking scum a few frames ago?) and their attempts to return to the free party days of yore were blocked by the club owners. 

The biters were bit in 2016, however, when tax authority raids were conducted on Pacha, Ushuaïa, Amnesia and Grupo Mutates. Clips show drugs and cash being discovered and people being led away under jackets to prevent their identities becoming known. The top hat lands on Jail on the Monopoly board and Temple follows his harrumph of triumphal indignation by turning his back on the Boom Boom business and returning to the simple pleasures of the land and the once-again audible tick of the seasonal clock. But a brief return to monochrome so that benevolent Moors can harvest olives gives way to shots of gimmicky New Age attractions to reap off-season rewards through yoga retreats, shaman packages and Ayahuasca therapies. 

Eco-friendly `agro-tourismos' is also becoming trendy, but opinion remains divided on the island whether untold wealth has been a price worth paying for selling Ibiza's soul. In 2018, 100,000 flights landed on this tiny rock, which only had around 30 cars in the late 1950s. Now, it has more cars per capita than anywhere else in the world. The pollution they generate is exacerbated by the rubbish deposited on the beaches that often finds its way into the sea. Hotel and club workers often sleep rough because  they can't afford to rent accommodation. And the island is running out of water. 

High in the mountains above San Josep lie the graffiti-covered ruins of an ancient clubbing civilisation. The writing is literally on the wall for those who fail to heed the lesson of the Fiesta Club As closing captions urge those who love Ibiza to coerce its powerbrokers into changing tack to preserve its magic, an old man in a bar calls for revolution. Yet, the kind of people who went on a wild 18-30 holiday in their salad days will have long moved on and forgotten what they could barely remember while it was happening to them. Expecting them to give two figs (if they even grow on Ibiza) for its future seems like a long shot, while those who currently avail themselves of the Green amenities will be so self-righteous that they couldn't begin to see themselves as part of the problem. But nothing ventured, eh?

The peevishly peppery response to the last third of the film shouldn't detract from the fascination the remainder exerts. There's nothing more tedious in fictional or documentary cinema than scenes of partygoers, as the camera singularly fails to capture their spirit of enjoyment while magnifying the ugliness of their excesses. Clearly, such debauchery has played a key role in Ibiza's recent past and Temple is right to devote so much time to it. But it doesn't make it any more palatable, especially as the placement of the intertitles within the shots has a smugness that is absent from the use of caption cards elsewhere.

Indeed, some of these are beautifully designed and great credit should go to Jonny Halifax and his team. Likewise, Norman Cook's musical selections are splendid, as is the editing of Caroline Richards and the often lustrous photography of Violetta D'Agata  and Steve Organ. The dramatic inserts are nicely staged and adroitly integrated with the newsreel and film clips, as Temple tells his tale with invention and wit. However, the arch glibness of the emoji-smattered `silent movie' conceit becomes increasingly apparent during the overly strident finger-wagging finale.