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Close Encounters of the Third Kind Strives to Awaken Awe
Magic Lantern Cinemas will offer a special re-release of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on Sunday and Wednesday. COURTESY: Magic Lantern
Saturday, July 6, 2024


While the debate continues over unidentified flying objects, there is no debate when it comes to the best UFO movie of all time.

Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” soared across the world into movie theaters in 1977 and immediately captivated the public imagination

Now, the Magic Lantern Cinemas in Ketchum is participating in a nationwide special re-release of the movie. It will screen it at 6:50 p.m. Sunday, July 7, and Wednesday, July 10.

“ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ is an exciting, uplifting, wondrous motion picture,” said Magic Lantern theater owner Rick Kessler. “If you have only seen it on TV, you have not come close to experiencing this motion picture. If you have never seen it …you are in for a breathless and emotional cinematic experience.”

The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, who long had ties to Sun Valley, as an electrical line worker in Muncie, Ind., whose life changes after an encounter with a UFO culminates in a search for a breakthrough in human-alien communication. Teri Garr stars as his wife.

The title—“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”—refers to contact, as opposed to Closen Encounters of the First Kind, which is witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky, and Close Encounters of the Second Kind, which is discovering physical evidence of extraterrestrial visitors.

The film won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Sounds Effects, and it was nominated for seven others. People still flock to Devils Tower in Wyoming where scientists and the U.S. military in the film converge looking for the UFO.

“Many great films of the ‘70s and ‘80s look very dated when it comes to special effects, but this is not the case here….it is still incredible after many decades,” said Kessler. “The film showcases the art of storytelling, a movie that relies on the narrative, script and journey, as opposed to just special effects.”

Kessler said that everything in the films works toward one end: To transform the adult sense of fear back into the childlike sense of wonder:

“It isn’t about being afraid of the unknown, but rather embracing it,” he added. “On another level, it carries a profundity and depth unparallelled even by some of his biggest cinematic wonders. One thing’s for sure—it’s brilliant storytelling and a dazzling piece of film-making.”

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