International Entertainment Movie Reviews

Samantha Cristoforetti Blazes a Trail Into Space for the World’s Women in A BEAUTIFUL PLANET

(L-R) Richard Gelfond, Toni Myers, Scott Kelly, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jennifer Lawrence, Barry “Butch” E. Wilmore, Dr. Kjell N. Lindgren and Terry Virts attend the New York premiere of “A Beautiful Planet” at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on April 16, 2016 in New York City.
(April 15, 2016 – Source: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images North America)

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

 
West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/19/17 – Superstars come to the big screen from many quarters.  Take Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy’s first woman in space, who appears in A BEAUTIFUL PLANET (2016) to speak about her record-breaking mission at the International Space Station. 
(L-R) Barry “Butch” E. Wilmore, Samantha Cristoforetti, Toni Myers, Scott Kelly and Dr. Kjell N. Lindgren attend the New York premiere of “A Beautiful Planet” at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on April 16, 2016 in New York City.
(April 15, 2016 – Source: Theo Wargo/Getty Images North America)

The 45-minute documentary is narrated by A-list Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence–off screen!

 
Cristoforetti holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours).  One of the first women fighter pilots in the Italian Air Force, she also commands a Twitter following of nearly a million fans that would be the envy of many a celebrity.
 
Jennifer Lawrence (center), with astronauts Scott Kelly, Samantha Cristoforetti, Butch Wilmore, Kjell Lindgren and Terry Virts as seen at the IMAX premiere of “A Beautiful Planet.” (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Samantha Cristoforetti was born on 26 April 1977 in Milan.  She attended Space Camp in St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of 18 and graduated from the Technical University in Munich, Germany with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

 
(L-R) Samantha Cristoforetti, Jennifer Lawrence and Barry “Butch” E. Wilmore attend the New York premiere of “A Beautiful Planet” at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on April 16, 2016 in New York City.
(April 15, 2016 – Source: Theo Wargo/Getty Images North America)

She later studied at the École nationale supérieure de l’aéronautique et de l’espace in Toulouse, France, and at the Mendeleev Russian University of Chemistry and Technology in Moscow.  She graduated in Aeronautics Sciences (University ‘Federico II’, Naples) at the Accademia Aeronautica in Pozzuoli.  Cristoforetti speaks Italian, English, German, French, and Russian and is studying Chinese.

 
NASA astronaut Terry Virts, left, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, second from left, writer and director Toni Myers, second from right, and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore pose for a picture following a screening of the IMAX film “A Beautiful Planet” at AMC Lowes 34th Street theater as part of the New York International Children’s Film Festival on April 17 in New York City. Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

In addition, Cristoforetti completed the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training.  She has logged over 500 flight hours and flown six types of military aircraft: SF-260, T-37, T-38, MB-339A, MB-339CD and AM-X.

 
In this photo posted on Twitter, Sunday, May 3, 2015, and provided by NASA, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti sips espresso from a cup designed for use in zero-gravity, on the International Space Station. Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, fired up the first espresso machine in space, which uses small capsules, or pods, of espresso coffee. (NASA via AP)

In 2009 Samantha Cristoforetti was officially selected as an astronaut by the European Space Agency.  In July 2012 the ESA announced her participation in the 2014 ISS mission documented in A BEAUTIFUL PLANET.

 
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti attends the world Premiere of the IMAX film “A Beautiful Planet” at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square theater on Saturday, April 16, 2016 in New York City. The film features footage of Earth captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

On 23 November 2014, Soyuz TMA-15M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan carrying Samantha Cristoforetti and two other astronauts.  It successfully docked at the International Space Station, a permanent laboratory on low Earth orbit, roughly six hours later.

 
European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti photographs Earth from the cupola onboard the International Space Station in a scene from the IMAX film ‘A Beautiful Planet.’

“Sam” quickly established herself as a model Futura cosmonaut with a quirky sense of humor.  A coffee addict like her idol Kathryn Janeway of STAR TREK: VOYAGER, Cristoforetti was the first person ever to brew espresso in space.  Her droll patriotism also emerged in her breathtaking photos of Italy and other parts of Planet Earth by night taken from the ISS cupola. 

 
“A Beautiful Planet” director Toni Myers (center) with cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko (far left), Oleg Kononenko (third from right), and Anton Shkaplerov (at right) and astronauts Butch Wilmore (second from left) and Terry Virts (second from right). (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Like the present reporter who has always wanted to be an astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti spent a happy childhood in safe small places where she was often allowed to roam unsupervised.  From an early age she also enjoyed studying science, reading sci fi books, traveling, learning new languages, and experiencing different cultures.

 
Jennifer Lawrence talks with collectSPACE at the IMAX premiere of “A Beautiful Planet,” April 16, 2016 in New York. (collectSPACE)

This reporter’s resulting zest for adventure and risk remained on the ground level.  But it took Samantha to the very stars!

 
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren prepares the IMAX camera for a shoot onboard the ISS. (NASA/IMAX)

Samantha Cristoforetti began an outreach program called “Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut”, where students 8–12 years old were offered the chance to get fit during a nine-week program while Cristoforetti herself trained in space.  She herself was glad to embrace the challenge of continuous learning and become a bona fide “space human” mainly through a day to day process of trial and error as in early childhood.

 
Cristoforetti and her crew mates returned safely from the ISS on 11 June 2015.  “It’s even better than what I had dreamed!” she said of the mission.
 
On 16 July 2015, Samantha Cristoforetti was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italian: Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana) by President Mattarella.  The Order of Merit is the senior order of knighthood, the highest ranking honor in Italy.
 
“She [Cristoforetti] has been followed with affection and love by all Italians”, said Mattarella on this occasion.  As the United States approaches Women’s Equality Day on August 26th, let us salute the accomplishments of Samantha Cristoforetti, who has already done so much to further the cause of international cooperation on a cosmic level by the age of 40.
 
Butch Wilmore onboard the station with Flight Engineer Cristoforetti

“Astronauts attract attention and curiosity”, Cristoforetti has observed.  So much so that some of them even become movie stars like Sam!

 
Expedition 43 Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from European Space Agency (ESA) rests in a chair outside the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft just minutes after she and NASA astronaut Terry Virts of NASA, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Virtz, Shkaplerov, and Cristoforetti are returning after more than six months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 42 and 43 crews. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Toni Myers’ A BEAUTIFUL PLANET from IMAX Entertainment featuring Samantha Cristoforetti and her International Space Station crewmates is now showing at the California Science Center located at 700 Exposition Park Drive in Los Angeles.  Made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of Earth from the ISS.  From space, Earth blazes at night with the electric intensity of human expansion — a direct visualization of our changing world and a hopeful look into the future of humanity.

 
“Rapturously beautiful!” said VARIETY.  “…an inspired, lyrical portrait of our planetary home!” added THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

For showtimes and additional information, please see

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