Re: Close Encounters

Well, as a proud Scot, I will say, without a word of a lie that I adore England. I have friends from college that come from England and I have never been one of these 'them against us' wankers. I have been to London a few times in my life and other places (Leeds, Manchester) visiting people and I fucking love it there.

I'm not a supporter of Scotland leaving the UK, I don't think it will benefit anyone. There are plenty of Scots who want away from the 'English' Government (that at times has actually been run by Scots, go figure) and I have seen news reports of English people saying 'well, let them go' and that sort of shite (from both sides) is not useful. I am Scottish and proud (though, I'm not really one for flag-waving, I'm not an Orangeman or  Rangers supporter big_smile) but I have no qualms sying I am British despite how it may look in my posts. smile

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Re: Close Encounters

^ I don't want you to leave either  big_smile, but would you like a Scottish Passport, cos I sure would like an English one (not that darn British one  mad)

Jason doesn't teleport.

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Re: Close Encounters

Yeah and it would be nice to say 'I'm Scottish' without people thinking I'm saying 'fuck England' at the same time. It's fine being 'The United Kingdom' as that is what we are (and should be) but I think 'Britain'and 'British' is a bit pointless, now.

If you are born in England, you are English and if you are born in Scotland, you're Scottish and if you're born in Wales, tough luck big_smile

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Re: Close Encounters

What a conversation was had in these pages, the long 18 months ago...

Anyway, I'm just here to leave this: Closet Cases of the Nerd Kind, a wonderful little parody of Close Encounters from 1980. I saw it on the same video as Hardware Wars, and HBO used to show it occasionally.

Click Here!

I make music and teach thirteen year olds.
soundcloud.com/the-one-galen

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Re: Close Encounters

I'm 28 years old and I've finally seen Close Encounters. I have honestly no idea how the Spielberg pre-2000 era has been a part of my film culture since I was a child, yet this film has managed to escape my radar. I guess I just took that era for granted.

As I watched the film, I immediately felt Close Encounters was one of those films that make a deep imprint on a child's imagination. I could express regret over missing it, but that realization means that child in me is still there, and more importantly, this 43-year-old story still manages to reach it effectively. Why?

The thing is that what struck me the most with Close Encounters is how incredibly low-key it plays everything, in any standard, late 70s or now. There is little exposition made, no motivations clearly expressed. Most of the time in other movies, there's always some kind of effort being made to be sure the viewer is following and understands what's going on - even in other Spielberg productions. What is happening, why is it happening. But not in Close Encounters. There's a sense that you're just following along, trying to piece together something that is not particularly worded out for you, like the viewer is out of the picture, and the characters are doing their thing without stopping to explain it. A story not tailored, more akin to a documentary as one of the guys says in the commentary. There are no answers given, but the film is not lacking them, because it doesn't set up things that it doesn't pay off. It just shows.

But it's fairly easy to write a story that doesn't explain, even though it's also incredibly hard to manage to go somewhere with it. The difference is Close Encounters plays the same game with all of its aspects. Although it's difficult to distinguish conscious decisions from technical limitations, the visuals blur the precision of what they're doing and bring out an otherworldly quality to the encounters. The sound design plays a huge part in that, because the ships are actually pretty silent. The beams of lights they emit on the road when Roy is stuck at the railroad crossing are silent.

Because the truth is, Close Encounters is not a film meant to be intellectualized, but felt. There's a dream-like quality to it, and you're led through it emotionally, quite notably even in a medium that's usually used for that. Every aspect of it is about sensation. All those aspects are not trying to describe a reality that could be, they're walking you through a dream. And you don't think a dream, you feel it.

I think very few works in cinema do this, and even less doing it well. Close Encounters is not a film, it's a tale.

Last edited by Saniss (2020-01-13 16:12:10)

Sébastien Fraud
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Re: Close Encounters

Awesome post.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Close Encounters

Agreed! Awesome post.

Saniss wrote:

The thing is that what struck me the most with Close Encounters is how incredibly low-key it plays everything, in any standard, late 70s or now. There is little exposition made, no motivations clearly expressed...There's a sense that you're just following along, trying to piece together something that is not particularly worded out for you, like the viewer is out of the picture, and the characters are doing their thing without stopping to explain it.

I had a very similar feeling when I watched the film for the first time, though I couldn't have articulated it as you have here. I just knew there was something very different about Close Encounters; I hadn't seen anything quite like it, at least not in this genre. It is, if not my favourite, probably in my top three Spielberg films. I find it mesmerizing.

If it's not about musicals, I probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Re: Close Encounters

Much as I love Star Wars, I want to see what would have happened if we lived in a world where Lucas was right and Close Encounters was the big hit of 1977. Not only because I wish we'd gotten to see more of that Spielberg*, but imagine what big-budget sci-fi would look like if this were the baseline for spectacle flicks. Imagine a culture that grew up on those final fifteen minutes of musical communication instead of the trench run.

*Not that Spielberg isn't, y'know, Spielberg. Guy is still supernaturally talented. But he melds his wonder with a cosmic spirituality here in a way he never really replicated afterward.

Last edited by Abbie (2020-01-13 20:17:38)

Re: Close Encounters

Abbie wrote:

Imagine a culture that grew up on those final fifteen minutes of musical communication instead of the trench run.

I almost did wink

I saw Close Encounters early in my childhood (towards the end of the '80s) soon after Star Wars and Forbidden Planet and those aliens freaked me out. That's the funny thing about Greys - minor changes to the design can make them look cute (Stargate SG-1) or creepy (Communion). The "uncanny valley" effect works very strongly in that particular distortion of the human form.

We all float down here...

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