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If the story about a hard-working female scientist who operates radio telescopes to detect signals from intelligent beings from outer space seems familiar to you, it is probably because you have read Carl Sagan's book - Contact (or you have seen the movie CONTACT based on it). And maybe it's not a coincidence because, as you read in the previous article, to Sagan

Avi Blizovsky

"For hundreds of years humanity has dreamed of intelligent life outside the earth. For many years, the scientists surveyed every corner of the sky, and the Argos project - a huge sophisticated system of radio telescopes - listened attentively to any signal that would indicate the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence somewhere in the universe."
"Then suddenly, the course of human history changed. The message arrived, contact was made. A call was received from a different life form, from a vanished intelligence, from someone or something outside the earth, 26 light years away, near the star Vega."

At the end of the book, Sagan admits - "Although I was, of course, influenced by those I know, there is no clear portrait of a real person in any of the characters in the book. Nevertheless, this book owes a lot to the world of the extraterrestrial intelligence community - a small group of scientists from all over our small planet, working together - sometimes despite very discouraging obstacles - and trying to hear the signal from the sky. I would like to acknowledge a special debt of gratitude to the pioneers of the field: Frank Drake, Philip Morrison, V.S. The late Shklovsky. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is now entering a new phase with the launch of two new research programs. The 8-million-channel Meta Sencial Survey at Howard University, funded by the Pasadena-based Planetary Society, and an even more detailed program sponsored by NASA (STEA). I very much hope that this book will become obsolete at the pace of real scientific discoveries."

And we will end with a passage from the book: "For many years, the pulses crossed the great plateau between the stars. From time to time they would notice an irregular cloud of gas and dust, and a small amount of the energy would be absorbed or scattered. The rest continued in the original direction. Mulan had a dull yellow glow, the brightness of which grew slowly among the other lights that did not change. Now, though to a man's eye it would still be a dot, it was certainly the brightest object in the black sky. The beats met in huge masses of snowflakes."

An intelligent alien. Illustration: shutterstock
An intelligent alien. Illustration: shutterstock

And once again we are on the White House lawns. And again the aliens come. And again there is a conspiracy here. and politics. and a love story. and God Robert Zemeckis got involved in "Contact"

"contact". Director: Robert Zemeckis. Screenplay: James Hart, Michael Goldenberg. Photographer: Don Burgess. Actors: Jodie Foster, Matthew

McConaughey, James Woods, John Hart, Tom Skrit

In Robert Zemeckis' latest film, "Contact", there is a connection between science fiction, family sentimentality and American politics - a connection that ultimately does not connect. It is possible that there is somewhere the possibility of connecting "- 2001 A Space Odyssey" and "The Wizard of Oz", but for that you need a genius that Zemeckis is not equipped with. In fact, in the spirit of the late President Kennedy's well-known words, Zemeckis sets in all seriousness a "new book region" for American civilization. Once the book, the frontier, was the journeys of horsemen, wagons and cattle drivers to the west. To Abilene, to Tombstone, to California gold. In the 60s, the book was space, and its climax was the conquest of the moon. Zemeckis, who adapted a book by Carl Sagan, pursues outer worlds in the universe.

The heroine of his film Ellie Erway (Jodie Foster), is a young scientist who gave up a promising career in the world of American science and technology, to devote herself to communication with outside worlds. She manages to raise funding to establish a base for listening to signals from other worlds, if there is such a thing. As her late father had already told her - if there are other systems like the one around the Earth and not all these space systems have intelligent life, then it is a huge waste of space. In English it rhymes beautifully.

In the end, she and her team manage to pick up a clear signal from a planet called Vega, and this is of course the discovery of the elf. From here, Zemeckis develops a plot that confronts American culture with this amazing event. The listening site, where the connection with the outside world is established, becomes a pilgrimage center. A whole American carnival unfolds there, with songs, demonstrations and picnics. The American happening at its peak. Faced with the discovery, there is also an accelerated preparation of the theological system, and of course, the political one as well. And again, as in many films lately, the center of activity moves to the White House.

This time it's not a fictitious president. As Zemeckis used Presidents Kennedy and Johnson for his film "Forrest Gump", this time he uses Bill Clinton. It seems to me that in at least one scene Clinton really cooperated with the film by playing a certain text. But with the technological means of Hollywood it could also be done on a computer.
At the same time, it is clear that the reference to this specific president - to Clinton - is very conscious and calculated. Eli's father outwardly resembles Clinton, he speaks in Clinton's voice, so when we are faced with someone who looks like Clinton, speaks like Clinton and is also the president of the United States, we must conclude and say that it is Clinton. or Clintonism. And this reinforces the feeling that this trip is being given national sponsorship.

Eli herself is put to the test of faith. Faith in God (!) versus faith in science. Matthew McConaughey, in his worst role, woos the young scientist through God. Later, in a McCarthy-style inquisition scene, Ellie is required to stand before a Senate investigative committee. How will you explain the gap between the personal experience she says she had, and the set of facts and photographic evidence, according to which the whole event was a fraud, the biggest in human history. Matthew McConaughey, in the role of a priest who refuses to abstain, provides the answers.

There is an incredible contradiction between the elaborate effects that illustrate the penetration into outer universes, and the basic ineffectiveness of the film, which suffers from mixing materials. Apparently 2001 was a one-time cinematic event, and since then no one trusts a script that is entirely focused on one thing. You need a little love story, parents and children, a little conspiracy, a little politics. And it does not work. It's possible that Zemeckis intended to pit his subjects against The Wizard of Oz in 90s science fiction guise. The Great and Terrible Wizard is old and that's the only nice thing about the film - John Hart as the Howard Hughes of the galaxy; But where are the munchkins?

From an interview by Yehuda Nouriel - Tel Aviv newspaper, 1997

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