Saturday, June 8, 2024

They’re Here (2024) Tribeca 2024

This is a look at several people in Upstate New York who claim to have had close encounters with aliens.

I didn't much care for this film. 

There was a point while watching this film where I broke with the film. It was a point where I  felt that they were making fun of their subjects. Having seen hundreds of pieces on the subject of UFOs or UAPs I've never felt a time where the filmmakers were being disingenuous to their subjects. While they state early on they are not believers,  it felt early on like they are being respectful of the proceedings, but there was a point where that changed. I started to feel their hands moving things around. They framed everything so that it was slyly humorous. It felt like they were trying to make a joke or at least make you not take the people on screen as seriously as they take themselves (I kept hearing them say "can you believe these people?").

Forgive me, I'm coming at this with 50 years of reading books and watching films on the subject. I've seen things produced by insane fanatics, scientific questioners, skeptics, debunkers and people who are just curious. All have some sort of point of view that we follow through from start to finish, even if it is an exploration of the facts towards a yea or nay conclusion. Nominally this film seems to be neutral exploration and just a portrait of various people, but there is point in the second half where that changes. There is a point where the filmmakers seem to be taking pity on the people profiled.

It doesn't help that the film is structured like a typical narrative. We have the introductions, then the conflict about whether the things they believe are real, and then we have the bittersweet  conclusions where illusions are shattered and we end with coda in Sri Lanka with a meditating man opening his eyes like a great revelation that had me groaning.  

The worst part is outside of the interview bits a large part of the film feels staged. People are arranged in the frame. Shots are perfectly put together.  Sequences look like sequences in an inde film. Yea, that's an accepted thing these days, but generally its a recreation not actual events. Too much of the film feels like the directors grabbed their subjects and took them out somewhere and set up the shots. 

What bothers me is that I really like everyone profiled, While I don't know if what they say happened to them did, I do believe they are sincere and they believe it. It bothers me is that the filmmakers give us are trying to make us feel sad for them, that it really was Mylar balloons... and we should be sad that they can't see reality.

More troubling is the fact that I'm not certain as to why they are telling these stories this way. I say that having seen the film twice. The first time I was angry because I thought the film was making fun of the subjects, the second time because I realized it wasn't that bad, but the portrait was still filled, or if not filled, tinged,with condescension. 

A miss.

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