2017 Milwaukee Film Festival – Day Four – LOVE AND SAUCERS
Day four of the 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival was another gorgeous day. There’s a lot that looks enticing in the early days of the film festival, but LOVE AND SAUCERS as part of the Cinema Hooligante program promised a lot. Particularly with a short feature accompaniment that I was anxious to see. So, a trip to the Oriental Theatre was in order.
The most audacious thing about LOVE AND SAUCERS is in how non-judgemental the film is. David Huggins, the man at the center of the film, claims to have had alien encounters many times over the years and to have carried on a love affair with an alien woman. And he channels those memories into a series of expressive paintings. It would be easy to mock him.
Instead, LOVE AND SAUCERS simply tells the story of the alleged encounters, as it mostly functions as a character study of David Huggins. What’s most remarkable is how otherwise normal David Huggins is. He’s just a soft spoken, well-natured guy who raised a normal son, can hold a job, and is clearly not any definition of crazy. His alien encounters are clearly a truth to him, but they don’t seem to be all that defines him.
Whether that’s the literal truth is another question. Certainly one can believe in the high probability of intelligent alien life in the universe. while still remaining skeptical of any encounter. LOVE AND SAUCERS really isn’t interested in unraveling David Huggins’s story, but it does allow for alternative explanations in what it chooses to leave in the film. For instance, the film does bring up that both of David Huggins’s parents drank too much and were abusive in his youth. It also brings up the idea that he’s the modern example of a religious visionary. LOVE AND SAUCERS leaves enough room that you can pick an explanation that works for you.
A viewer of LOVE AND SAUCERS can believe that David Huggins’s mind is helping him cope with the world or he had actual alien encounters, and neither explanation ultimately changes the portrait of the artist or the effectiveness of his art. In the end, LOVE AND SAUCERS just accepts David Huggins as he is and makes you like him too. That’s a sign of good art. There are truths that we’ll never know for certain, but the man and his art are truths in themselves.
As a bonus, LOVE AND SAUCERS was accompanied by a bonus feature before it started, THE DUNDEE PROJECT from AMERICAN MOVIE’s subject Mark Borchardt. THE DUNDEE PROJECT finds Mark Borchardt visiting the Dundee, Wisconsin UFO Festival with a slightly more jaundiced point of view than LOVE AND SAUCERS. Still, he’s not out to embarrass or mock, merely to observe the imperfections of true blue Wisconsin residents. In many way the UFO Festival is like many Wisconsin festivals involving lakefront settings, beer, fireworks, and just wanting to have a good time first. Whether or not UFOs are part of the experience seems besides the point. There’s perhaps a yearning for a deeper meaning, but no disappointment along the way, for both the festival and the short feature capturing it. It’s a good solid short subject.
LOVE AND SAUCERS and THE DUNDEE PROJECT will be showing twice more at the 2017 Milwaukee Festival. The next screening is Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm at the Times Cinema followed by a final screening on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 9:30 pm at the Avalon Theater. Tickets can be purchased online at the Milwaukee Film Festival website or at box office locations at various venues. The 2017 Milwaukee Film Festival runs from September 28 to October 12, 2017.