Take That, James Cameron

This weekend I popped in on Turner Classic Movie’s 30 Days of Oscar and caught the last 15 minutes of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Have you seen it lately? If not, put it in your queue.  It holds up amazingly well. This scene of the scientists trying to communicate with the space ship via music and light is simply genius. (Note toward the end the homage to Jaws.)

A little bit of film history adds an additional layer to the ending. Richard Dreyfus — who looks a lot like Spielberg — stands to the front with all these scientists and military-industrial types who have prepared their whole lives for this moment. He is the outsider who has had to fight every step of the way just to get where he is.  But in the end he’s the only one chosen by the aliens to go with them. The lead scientist tells him "I envy you."

That character is played by none other than legendary French filmmaker Francois Truffault, one of the founders of the French New Wave movement that revolutionized international cinema in the 1960s.  And with that simple line, Spielberg effectively writes himself into film history, positioning himself as the scrappy next wave to whom the torch is passed from one of the great innovators of the last.  For such a young director, using such an unusual vehicle, it's quite a bold choice.   

Even more remarkable, he’s pulled it off.

Definitely worth a look.

Jim McDermott, S.J.

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Father Ireneusz Ekiert, administrator of Mary Help of Christians Church in Parkland, Fla., leads parishioners during an outdoor Stations of the Cross service on Feb. 16 dedicated to the victims and survivors of the deadly mass shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (CNS photo/Tom Tracy)
In the midst of the unimaginable, Father Ekiert is telling his parishioners to show and live love daily—not just in a time of grief and horror.
Kate SteinFebruary 20, 2018
When I played hockey, other players of color were few and far between.
Antonio De Loera-BrustFebruary 20, 2018
Five years later, looking back on a momentous day in the life of the church
James Martin, SJFebruary 18, 2018