Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs

Documentary on a Flying Saucer Documentary

Dec. 12, 2016
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Justin Gaar admits to “a heavy dose of skepticism” when he accepted a job editing footage purporting to show UFO activity around Monterey, Calif. Hour after hour of footage, shot obsessively by Christo Roppolo, who turns out to be a garrulous goofball who claims he has been witness to alien phenomena since childhood.

Little by little, drawn into Roppolo’s world, Gaar assembled a documentary on the man who hired him to make a documentary on UFOs. Gaar’s film, Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs, is out on DVD.

The 50something Roppolo turns out to be a guy who could have been a contender. He was part of California’s industrial-punk music scene in the ‘80s; in the ‘90s he made a couple of low-budget horror flicks that received attention in those circles. Roppolo has lived on a steady diet of sci-fi, horror and splatter and has had a troubled life.

What about hose points of light that Roppolo films over and over, many of them forming triangular configurations or moving oddly against the night sky? Gaar becomes increasingly intrigued, and finds other Monterey residents who claim similar sightings (though none are as preoccupied with the subject as Roppolo).

Does Gaar become a believer? He doesn’t say, but makes some cogent observations about Roppolo, whose dream of becoming a movie director were cut short and is desperate to do something—to accomplish something in the face of a society that always saw him as a bit nuts.

Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs is a surprisingly captivating glimpse into the shadows of popular culture.

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