Members’ Choice Film Screening: Thought-provoking sci-fi “Contact” on Mon., Dec. 19

We asked for your input and we got a response! Starting on Monday, Nov. 21, and into December we present a new film series based on favorites chosen by Best Video Film & Cultural Center members. Each movie starts at 7 PM and admission is $7.

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We conclude the first Members’ Choice series on Monday, Dec. 19, with the 1997 science-fiction film “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. Based on a novel by Carl Sagan and directed by Robert Zemeckis, “Contact” offers up a tale of the first contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence and the theological, political and intellectual repercussions. The movie was suggested by BVFCC member Shelly Stackhouse, who will introduce the movie and help lead the optional post-film discussion.

Revisiting the movie in 2011, critic Roger Ebert wrote:

“Contact” is a film that takes place at the intersection of science, politics and faith. Those are three subjects that don’t always fit easily together. In the film, an alien intelligence transmits an image of three pages of encrypted symbols. It is clear where the corners of each page are. It is also clear that the three corners are intended to come together in some way to make single image. Scientists are baffled in their attempts to bring the pages together. The solution, when we see it, provides an Eureka Moment. It is so simple, and yet so difficult to conceive of. It may be intended as a sort of intelligence test.

Watching the film again after 14 years, I was startled by how bold it is. Its heroine is a radio astronomer named Dr. Eleanor Arroway (Jodie Foster), who is an atheist. In the film she forms a cautious relationship with Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey), a believer in God who writes about science. Key roles are played by science advisors to the President, who see aliens, God and messages from space all in cynical political terms. They justify their politics with the catch-all motive of “national defense.”

When the movie was released in July 1997 I had more or less the same beliefs I have now about the existence of God and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Yet reading my review I find the movie didn’t seem as brave to me then as it does now.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Dec. 8. AMERICANA: SEPIATONE

• Friday, Dec. 9. BLUEGRASS: DALE ANN BRADLEY BAND (A GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTION)

• Monday, Dec. 12. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “WINTER’S BONE”

• Thursday, Dec. 15. JAZZ: THE AFRO-SEMITIC DUO (DAVID CHEVAN & WARREN BYRD)

• Friday, Dec. 16. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Saturday, Dec. 17. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “THE GOONIES” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Monday, Dec. 19. MEMBER’S CHOICE FILM SCREENING: “CONTACT”

• Wednesday, Dec. 21. AVANT-GARDE: RYAN KAYHART, GAA

• Thursday, Dec. 22. HOLIDAY CONCERT: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Dec. 23. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: DUST HAT (DEBUT!), SOLO ELECTRIC GUITAR: BILL BECKETT

• Thursday, Dec. 29. JAZZ: MICHAEL COPPOLA

• Friday, Dec. 30. IMPROVISED/AVANT-GARDE: NAGUAL

• Wednesday, Jan. 4. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: THE FURORS

• Friday, Jan. 6. ACOUSTIC FOLK BLUES & MORE: VANGE DURST

• Saturday, Jan. 7. MUSIC OF “THE SIMPSONS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS with SPECIAL GUESTS

• Wednesday, Jan. 11. AMERICANA: PLYWOOD COWBOY

• Friday, Jan. 13. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Thursday, Jan. 19. GOTH/SHOEGAZE: TELEGRAM SCAM

• Friday, Jan. 20. BLUEGRASS: THE PAGE TURNERS (A GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTION)

• Friday, Jan. 27. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Saturday, Jan. 28. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Friday, Feb. 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Friday, Feb. 10. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING, MERCY CHOIR (solo)

• Friday, Feb. 24. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Saturday, Feb. 25. MUSIC: “SHALL WE TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT?”

• Friday, Mar. 10. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR