you believe in aliens? Have you ever seen aliens? Are you an alien? If you replied
yes to any of these questions, you really should have spent six days in Roswell
starting July 1st, 1997. Yup, Roswell, New Mexico, the birthplace of modern UFO
pop-culture. Thanks to the video-released Six Days in Roswell documentary,
you'll feel as if you had taken part of the fun-filled festivities surrounding
the 50-year anniversary of the legendary UFO crash.
Six Days in Roswell is the journal of a man, Richard Kronfeld,
who travels to the Roswell celebrations in search of information, evidence, social
contact and the possible abduction experience. Granted, this film is not your
regular sci-fi flick, but rather a movie-long documentary about a 50-year-old
social phenomenon that has compelled the creation of so many "alien invasion"
and "first contact" movies that are still produced to this day. And
it is hilarious to boot!
which first appeared in the sister documentary Trekkies (1997), isn't your
typical citizen. Shy, stereotyped, junk collector, fond of Captain Pike (Star
Trek's first ever Enterprise captain), this acted-out narrator/interviewer nonetheless
achieves to grasp the audience by... having you feel really sorry for him. Much
like witnessing a kid singing poorly on an elementary school talent show, when
looking at him work you'll share the pride of the parents, the support of the
music teacher... and all the embarrassment of the ill at ease crowd.
All along Rich's quest, you'll meet a lot of passionate alien believers. From
the wise researchers to the costumed freaks (*lots of them*), from the confident
faith-bearers to the alien-snake-oil salesmen, Six Days in Roswell
looks like an economy-class tour of the Rio Festival, all the Hollywood wardrobes,
country folk festivals and your local mental nuthouse... all brought together
for your enjoyment. Looking at all those proud folks being made fun of, the science
fiction adept will either find laughter... or awkwardness and the guaranteed desire
to hide under the rug. [Editor's note: The reviewer did feel both ways :) ] On
a more serious note, the ufologist will also find a few familiar faces (Stanton T. Friedman,
Whitley Strieber, Robert O. Dean...) and some slightly
less relevant icons (Jesse Ventura in a raspberry parade...)
is important to mention that the whole documentary is presented in a very, very
comical way. Behind a paper-thin mask of unbiased journalism, Six Days in Roswell
deliberately tilts the balance towards showing the eerie feeling of the Roswell
partying and the extreme eccentricity of many of the participants. However fun
and exaggerated the people and events may seem, the overall effect is neither
of ridicule nor disbelief, but rather of understanding and awe.
In the end, what Six Days in Roswell is doing is exploring openly
the bizarre effects of alien and UFO pop-culture. X-Files, alien-abduction stories,
government cover-ups, all those concepts are now engraved in the mind of the common
citizen, at least in western societies. In an era where distrust in established
power is increasing steadily and voter confidence is low, individuals seek to
find new faith and belief icons. Aliens and UFO have been very fashionable sanctuaries...
and some refugees simply decided to gather for a week in Roswell to party down
and have some genuine, innocent fun.
Six Days in Roswell isn't your neighbor's boring summer-vacation
home video. This film is a walk on the wild side of science fact and fiction brought
together. If you haven't seen Trekkies (1997) yet, rent or buy both. You
will not regret having seen this jewel of a documentary. It sure beats many commercial
blockbusters playing in theaters.
Review by René-Marc Simard.