As you can see, ET is not a children’s movie

When AND 1 on European screenser In December 1982, few people knew that the future pop culture blockbuster ($360 million at the box office) was the fruit of Steven Spielberg’s horror film: Night Skiesthe story of a family on their farm haunted by seven aliens with destructive and conquering ambitions.

The third type of dating is still on everyone’s minds, space is becoming more and more fascinating to the movie industry, and Hollywood probably thinks there is an opportunity to franchise it.

From terrifying to magical

The problem is that the director is then in the middle of filming the first partIndianaJones In Tunisia, as written in the original script, there is no desire to film the invasion of alien torturers with the ability to tear apart cows and people.

Along with his eternal partner Melissa Mathison, he is rewriting the script, moving away from the horror and favoring a fairy tale track where the seven aliens will be replaced by a single alien. To be as friendly as possible, the film crew even interviewed various children, excited to know the superpowers that the latter appreciated. Answer: the ability to heal wounds.

After that, Spielberg’s idea was no longer to film the invasion or capture the fear of the population, but to tell the story of a friendship between a being from outer space, healing wounds and reviving flowers, and a lonely teenager. , is withdrawn and unable to control his feelings.

During the interview, the director will even go so far as to draw from his personal experience, as if from a childhood spent watching movies for his mates who were nowhere to be found every day: “I was calling the stars to find me a friend. Someone who will accompany me, a supernatural friend who will make me discover incredible things and vice versa.

Paranoia, security concerns, and faceless adults

However, it would be a mistake to think so AND as a sweet film, as a film about an eternal teenager determined not to age (remember, for all intents and purposes, spielberg will be directing) Hook in 1991). ANDit’s certainly an intimate story of childhood trauma, but it’s also a film of what the then single and childless American considers his own liberation. “last vacation before becoming a responsible adult”.

It would also be a mistake to think that the new Hollywood lover is content to apply the advice of Francois Truffaut, his idol, to the letter, because the latter encourages him. “Making films with children in them”. You even have to press “play” to see it: you have to wait until the eighth minute to finally hear a voice, to see the calming presence of aliens and scientists (barely suggested in the ballet of red and white lights) in the background of this sequence. ) seems to be playing cat-and-mouse in the heart of a dark forest, while John Williams’ deliberately eerie score is responsible for intensifying the atmosphere.

Screenshot by Universal Pictures France via YouTube

that’s it AND far from being a naive fairy tale, no offense to the American media who only see it as a Christmas movie, it’s not very deep and can’t be taken seriously. It’s a little too quick to forget that Spielberg’s vision of the world of grown-ups is a no-brainer: paranoid, conspiratorial, fearful and afraid of what they don’t know, “grown-ups” spend most of the film hunting AND

Whether they’re filming the populace’s conversations, walking around in spacesuits, equipping themselves with flashlights, or looking out over the city, every scene with them seems designed with the idea of ​​enhancing their eerie presence. For this, Spielberg has the brilliant idea of ​​never showing their faces (except towards the end of the film, but always in secret, where they can’t really be distinguished). Because, again, it is necessary to emphasize their hostility, and also because the adults of the film are clearly not the people they believe.

ET’s adoptive family confirms this: between an absent father and an overbearing mother, Elliott, Gertie (played by Drew Barrymore pretending to be a member of a punk band during an audition…at only 6 years old!) and Mike are the film’s true heroes, their kindness and a country whose mutual aid contrasts with America’s shortcomings, a country where we stutter over and over again when we talk about respect for difference.

Ode to lost children

Spielberg takes advantage of this, contrary to his reputation as an enchanted filmmakerAND inviting the viewer to once again put themselves in the shoes of the rejected. Through this beautiful little alien planet, therefore, a little exiled, foreign, isolated, even a little turned on himself, he films with an obvious concern to defend unity and point the finger. the opacity of government maneuvers.

Screenshot by Universal Pictures France via YouTube

In the background, AND it’s also an opportunity for Spielberg to take a good stab at the Hollywood tradition of always being ready to use alien invasion to promote American ideology. In 1982, when the United States faced the fear of a potential foreign threat (aliens, communism, etc.) Sea teeth thus taking a tangent and making the aliens the benefactors, he is able to highlight the paranoid and catastrophic climate in which Uncle Sam’s country has sunk.

ANDit is not Alien, Thing Where Poltergeist (Co-written and co-produced by Spielberg): The aliens are not depicted here as predators or invaders. You have to be careful, not of them, but of adults, of those who are “will experiment on it”is preoccupied with the idea of ​​finding an ET to dissect it, like the frogs offered to children during biology class.

In small details, the director thus enjoys developing a sociological thought: the idea that once a person becomes an adult, they lose this porosity, the idea that children have in them, to the world that encourages them to talk about everything. around them, including a strange being from another planet.

In Spielberg, however, the child is never a fragile person to teach, model, or instruct. On the contrary: “Kids are more spontaneous than adults because they’re not old enough to censor themselves, to stop saying this or that because it’s inappropriate.he explains in an excellent documentary ET, an intimate blockbusterProduced by Arte. They say what they think, and if I can capture their nonsense, the film will gain spontaneity.

Screenshot by Universal Pictures France via YouTube

with ANDTherefore, Spielberg not only initiates a change in view of extraterrestrial life that is less frightening than potentially beneficial to humanity. alpha or Starman by John Carpenter): it’s also a film that paved the way for other portraits of lost children regardless of his direction (Empire of the Sun, AI, Hook), loved ones (Goonies, Gremlins) or its successors (Super 8, Stranger Things), probably marked for life by the universality of his story AND an alien.

However, here’s a movie that drew more than 123 million viewers in America, revved up moviegoers in the UK and prompted young Swedes to take to the streets, angry about the under-11 ban. government. One has to believe that once again the power to dream, so dear to Spielberg, trumps the security concerns of adults.

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