Sunday, February 24, 2008

Encounter At Raven's Gate (1988)

I’m not sure what to make of this film, or who to recommend it to. All I can say is I liked it, it was amazingly well made, and it definitely held my interest throughout the duration of its run time.
Visually, film has amazing composition. The cinematography and directing is striking. The audio is quite striking as well, like during the dog attack the sound of digiridoos (spelling?) blends with the dog’s growling.
The film reminded me there are still many things in nature we do not completely understand yet. Some things seem to defy scientific explanation. Having just finished viewing this film for the first time, I could probably write a dozen pages about this film and how I interpret it. Someone else could do the same and our ideas might be quite different.
For one, this film is about is how every once in a while, whether you live in the city or the country, sometimes everybody’s biggest problems can come to the surface all at once. In this film, the s--- hits the fan for several different people in the same place, but in different ways. There are no flat, one-dimensional characters here.
I don’t want to muddle people’s impressions of this film with comparisons to other movies. There is definitely some “X-Files” type stuff going on, and parts of it reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But in general this film is quite unique, and is virtually unknown in the United States.
There is no DVD available in NTSC Region 1, and the copy I watched was a dusty old VHS tape issued by HBO, I recently found it in the Sci-Fi section of the old, cluttered video store I work at. The cover looked interesting. Usually when I find a film made in certain foreign countries, I assume a lot of people there must have liked it if it a US distributor picked it up. Of course that is not always true, and thousands of great foreign films never get released here, while plenty of crap finds its way here thanks to the money hungry corporations monopolizing the distribution networks. But I’ve always had good luck with films from Australia, such as Chopper, Razorback, and The Last Wave.
I really hope this film gets a DVD release over here. I would love to view it with better picture quality. I am also curious to know if this film was big hit in Australia.

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