Movie Review: Artist paints his Kinky Close Encounters in “Love & Saucers”

love1

David Huggins is a trained artist of the primitivist/impressionist school who has but one subject — himself…and his lifetime of encounters with aliens.

He’s particularly concerned with the conjugal visits, meetings that he insists were sexual in nature, and illustrates them in not-totally-unskilled detail in painting after painting. In an earlier age, we might have labeled the work “Alien Abduction Porn.”

To his credit, filmmaker Brad Abrahams never lets on that he’s making fun of this odd old Hoboken man’s obsession. He lets Huggins tell his story, in graphic detail, in “Love & Saucers,” an utterly credulous true believer’s coital “Communion” that has to be seen to be believed. Or disbelieved.

The one true outside expert put on camera here, Jeffrey Kripal, professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, finds Huggins “sincere” in his beliefs that he’s been meeting assorted aliens — “little hairy beings,” “Mantids” (preying mantis look-alikes) and the classic wide-eyed “greys” of 75 years of screen science fiction. So, Kripal takes it on faith that the guy believes this happened?

As we’re treated to recollections of one encounter after another, from childhood first contact to “I lost my virginity to an extraterrestrial” to the son he says he fathered with an alien, giving his human son an alien step-brother, the one person we’re desperate to hear from is a psychotherapist. If you’re going to put an expert out of his depth on camera, why not pursue one who doesn’t feed your subject’s delusions?

Because even though we can see this mania as a threat to Huggins’ marriage (his wife refused to appear) and the paintings are of sketchy quality and dubious value (Who’d want to live with this creepy, quasi-amateurish stuff on their walls?), suggesting there’s not really anything in this for him, the supernatural explanation he insists is the only one isn’t the only one.

Love2

His Hoboken townhouse is crammed with sci-fi books and films (all on VHS), and the fact that his alien descriptions fit not only with science fiction, but with those of others who have taken “Communion” in the Whitley Strieber sense don’t make his wild claims any more credible.

And lacking an outside expert to go into what makes Huggins believe all these fantastical things happened to an artsy dreamer from rural Georgia, Abrahams, who artfully uses the paintings to flesh out Huggins’ narration,  needed to do more probing himself, with his questions. He doesn’t. The barest hints of a troubled childhood let the viewer wonder what wasn’t asked, and if there was molestation involved.

Huggins’ wacky consultations of the I Ching (tossing coins, etc.), his first gallery showing of his works and his endless, detailed and explicit descriptions of his inter-species sex life may play “cute,” but seems like an unhealthy, or at least unseemly filmmaker’s indulgence of an old man with unresolved issues, issues not helped by the act of legitimizing them with a documentary.

In a culture at war over “truth” and “facts” versus “sincere” beliefs, “Love & Saucers” aligns itself firmly with the cranks without even the courtesy of a wink to suggest it’s not in on the joke.

2stars1

If they ever tell me where they’re from, I’ll let you know.

MPAA Rating: unrated, with graphic sexual content

Cast: David Huggins, Jeffrey Kripal

Credits:Directed by Brad Abrahams. An Orchard release.

Running time: 1:10

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s