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|Festivale Spring 1997|
There are none so blind as they who will not see. Don't you think?
|Making contact, reaching out and touching new civilisations, is either a dream or a nightmare. The new, and the surprising are enlightening, and one would think everyone would embrace them. Come on, anyone in retailing will tell you, there best-sellers are the new lines. But strangely enough, those comfort zones, the familiar and the known, are in some people bound in the emotional and mental equivalent of barbed wire and biological hazard warnings and vitriol and fear-venom and sharp sticks, and just about anything their little minds can think of.|
|In Contact, one of the telling moments was when scientist Ellie
(Jodie Foster) is asked by her god-fearing lover/nemesis (Matthew McConaughey) whether she is
spiritual. He thought that if she did not worship a god-figure, that she lacked spirit. Ellie
has spirit. She is a believer, but she believes in the universe, in the sun and the stars, and
the rotation of the earth, and the unknown, and all the wonderful, mystical possibilities of
creation (small c). He later admits he asked his question out of fear of unknown dangers.
Ellie is inspired by her love of the questions and the lure of answers undreamed of, from her beginnings as a child at her ham radio, through her years of patiently listening to the stars, to her final meeting of an unearthly mind.
Contact is a brilliant realisation by experienced science
fiction professionals, the novel is by Carl Sagan, script by Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan,
the direction by Robert Zemeckis, these are people who have asked the questions before, and
have fun speculating about the possibilities. In Contact they theorise that the first
official contact with a non-earthly race will excite politicians to muscle their way to the
spotlight, warriors to arms their missiles and the populace to scream joyous greetings or
paranoiac demands for destruction. The great clash is between those who need the unknown
wrapped up in a father-figure at once murderous (Noah's arc etc) and full of promise (limited
death). Their comfort zone is crumbling from the outside and the only recourse is violence.
And so it goes.
And so it goes.
The film-makers had a lot
of fun making this film, just watch the shots of Ellie listening to the stars, her satellite
dish hat mirroring the satellite dishes of the radios in the backdrop. Foster brings to her
role a strength, she plays a woman with conviction, a person who has to fight for her chance
to explore the universe, and yet be a very real human being.
This is not the cartoon science fiction universe of Men in Black, or the Space Opera universe
of Star Wars, it is the science fiction universe of scientists and humanists, people who use
sf to explore the possibilities of our universe and ourselves.
This is not the cartoon science fiction universe of Men in Black, or the Space Opera universe of Star Wars, it is the science fiction universe of scientists and humanists, people who use sf to explore the possibilities of our universe and ourselves.
||Contact. Excellent. Live long, prosper, and never stop asking questions.|
Title: Contact (1997)
Just the facts:
Written by: Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan; based on novel by Carl Sagan
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Produced by: Steven J. Boyd; Joan Bradshaw; Ann Druyan; Lynda Obst; Rick Porras; Carl Sagan; Steve Starkey; Robert Zemeckis
Edited by Arthur Schmidt
Director of Photography: Don Burgess
The Players: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt; Angela Bassett; John Hurt; David Morse (I); Rob Lowe; William Fichtner; James Woods; Geoffrey Blake; Jena Malone.
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Title: Contact (1997)