This week, we look to the skies to consider two films about the difficulty of communication between worlds, and the inward journeys involved in looking to the stars. Inspired by Denis Villeneuve’s new ARRIVAL, we begin with an in-depth discussion of an earlier film with which it shares many thematic and narrative elements: Robert Zemeckis' 1997 Carl Sagan adaptation CONTACT. We consider the film’s ambition, dissect its blockbuster qualities, and try to determine what makes this unwieldy, emotional movie work so well, almost despite itself. (Spoiler: It’s mostly Jodie Foster.) Plus, a brief feedback discussion on cultural empathy and the movies.
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