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Close Encounters of the Third Kind$
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Jon Towlson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325079

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325079.001.0001

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Close Encounters: Analysis

Close Encounters: Analysis

(p.57) 3. Close Encounters: Analysis
Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Jon Towlson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents a detailed analysis of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The long take is a Spielberg staple: examples exist in each of his films, but it is an aspect of his work rarely commented upon, possibly because his plan séquences are characterised by their very invisibility. The effect of the long take on the viewer is to draw them into the scene, increasing emotional involvement; and this reflects Spielberg's essentially intuitive approach to filmmaking. Arguably, the plan séquence shots in Close Encounters are some of the most effective of Spielberg's career for this reason. The chapter then looks at Spielberg's collaboration with Hungarian-born cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond on Close Encounters, which links Spielberg interestingly to the New Hollywood of the 1970s. It also explores the characters and themes of the film, as well as John Williams' contribution to Close Encounters.

Keywords:   Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, plan séquences, intuitive filmmaking, Vilmos Zsigmond, New Hollywood, John Williams

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