Alphaville Videoteca

The Search for Signs of Inteligent Life in the Universe (1991)

EE.UU.. Teatro. 117 minutos
Título Original: The Search for Signs of Inteligent Life in the Universe
Director: John Bailey
Intérpretes: Lily Tomlin
Formato: DVD  [2 discos] Calidad: DVD
Idioma: Inglés   Subtítulos: No

Synopsis: This filmed version of Lily Tomlin's successful Tony Award-winning one-woman performance piece is sometimes classified as a "documentary." However, it is one hundred percent from the show and contains nothing but that show, so it could also be classified simply as a comedy/satire. In any case, it features classic characters limned by this versatile performer, whose uncanny sketches predated those by Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Ullman or Sandra Bernhard -- all of whom walk in her footsteps. One of the repeating themes of the show is the avuncular advice of a delightfully addled bag lady who offers her services to help non-Earth aliens understand what they are seeing on this planet. All the skits tie together under the general theme of making fun of high-toned New Age rhetoric, which is a system of beliefs that proves inadequate to address the fundamental woes of everyday life. 

Among the many "characters" that Tomlin appears as include: Trudy, a time traveler, social observer and creative consultant "contactee" to aliens; Chrissy - an aerobics devotee and self-help guru; Kate - a jaded socialite; Agnus Angst - a fifteen-year-old, post-Watergate, post-feminist, post-punk performance artist; Lud and Marie - Agnus's bewildered [grand]parents; Paul - a recovering "coke-aholic," fitness freak and sometime sperm donor; Brandy and Tina - two entrepreneurial prostitutes; Lynn, Edie and Marge - three friends who cling to 1970s/80s feminist ideologies.

Originally produced for the Showtime cable network, it had a few theatrical screenings around the world (including at the Cannes Film Festival) through Orion Classics.

The stage production was directed by the playwright, Jane Wagner. Cinematographer John Bailey makes his directing debut for this film version and received a CableACE Award for Best Theatrical Special as well as being nominated for Best Directing of a Comedy Special.

Note that the title includes the deliberate misspelling of "intelligent" - which was done in an ironic sort of way. The title card however, uses "inteligint" whereas uses "inteligent"  - and to make it more confusing, the DVD cover uses "intelligent" - which is how it is spelled in all stage productions and promotions.

Primetime Emmy Awards, Nominated for Best Individual Performance in a Variety Program (Lily Tomlin) and Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special

Extras (all on Disc 2):

  • "The Goosebump Experience" - featurette with Tomlin and Wagner talking about the show  (approx. 5 minutes)
  • "Magic Minimalism" - featurette with Tomlin and Wagner talking about the sound and lighting effects used in the production (approx. 2 minutes)
  • Biographies of Tomlin and Wagner (texts)
  • Interview with Tomlin and Wagner at M.I.T. (approx. 31 minutes)
  • "Cast of characters" featurette - Tomlin and Wagner talk about the characters seen in the production (approx. 22 minutes)
  • Outtakes - archival video & audio footage over the years including behind-the-scenes footage, Tomlin's Tony Award speech and the film's opening night (approx. 15 minutes)
  • "Ode to The Search" - a 12-minute montage of clips from the production