Monday, September 22, 2014

Criticwire Survey: Movies for Aliens

Q: This week's question comes to us via filmmaking brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, who asked about the filmic equivalent of the "golden records" placed in the Voyager spacecraft. If you could place a movie or three in a deep-space probe to represent humanity to a curious alien, what would you choose?
Since the question specifically says or three, I'll choose three movies. I’m also going to assume that we cannot assume that the aliens speak any of our human languages, and therefore pick three films that do not depend so much on language to communicate who we are. So, well start with a silent film – and if were going silent, that means we need to go with Buster Keaton – and I can think of no better film than Sherlock Jr. (1924) that shows our humor, our daydreams, our fantasies, and so much else. I would also include Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (2011), which shows the history of humankind, filtered through the prism of one family, and one life. Finally, I think it would valid for us to show some of our darkness – so why not include Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining – if nothing else, it will show how much we need human contact, or else we go crazy. Plus, I would love to see a sequel to Room 237 – from an alien point of view.

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