Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

Cinema Detroit Detroit, MI


Hunter Tuinstra

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, Wayne State University

Close Encounters of the Third Kind— The technology of the self

Hunter Tuinstra presents examples of UFO abductions and sightings, including some from Michigan and their common themes, discusses why humanity is so interested in UFOs, and explains how the concept of "technology of the self" — a transformation that people make to reach higher states of being — operates in the film and in real life.

Cinema Detroit Detroit, MI

Film Synopsis

After an encounter with UFOs, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is an electrical lineman who, while sent out on emergency repairs, witnesses an unidentified flying object. Neary's wife (Teri Garr) and children are at first skeptical, then concerned, and eventually fearful, as Roy refuses to accept a "logical" explanation for what he saw and is prepared to give up his job, his home, and his family to pursue the "truth" about UFOs. Neary's obsession eventually puts him in contact with others who've had close encounters with alien spacecraft, including Jillian (Melinda Dillon), a single mother whose son disappeared during her UFO experience, and Claude Lacombe (François Truffaut), a French researcher who believes he can use a musical language to communicate with the alien visitors. Lacombe's theory is put to the test when a band of government researchers and underground UFO enthusiasts (including Neary) join for an exchange with alien visitors near Devil's Tower, Wyoming.

About the Speaker

Hunter Tuinstra is a PhD candidate in film and media at Wayne State University whose research encompasses film, cultural criticism, anthropology, and psychology. He is interested in UFO experiences and abduction narratives, how those narratives shape our everyday lives, and how they exist in our culture. Tuinstra has given several conference talks on UFO/alien belief in American culture and the UFO question, especially our age of soft governmental disclosure on UFOs and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).