Director: Steven Spielberg

134 mins, USA, 1977, 35mm

One of Spielberg’s best loved films, Close Encounters ties three storylines together for one of the most uplifting climaxes in modern cinema. As a group of researchers investigate the increased number of UFO sightings, family man Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) becomes obsessed after an encounter of the second kind (one which leaves physical evidence). Meanwhile, Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon) witnesses the abduction of her son by unseen beings following a UFO landing. As Neary and Guiler become preoccupied by pictures of a strangelooking mountain, the researchers receive a signal from space which provides them with geographical coordinates. Eventually, all of these people converge on a mountain top where the course of human history is about to change as first contact is made with alien beings. Breaking with tradition and presenting the aliens as benevolent is Spielberg’s masterstroke in a film that contains enough wonder to inspire even the most jaded viewer. This is a special 30th anniversary screening.

Notes by David O’Mahony

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