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Astronomy and Astrophysics

Provocative 'The Visit: An Alien Encounter' imagines a visit from outer space

Danish director Michael Madsen (not to be confused with the American actor) builds his latest film around a what-if scenario — hardly an unusual strategy. Except that Madsen makes documentaries. As its narration states, "The Visit" (not to be confused with the M. Night Shyamalan feature) "documents an event that has never taken place" — that event being the arrival on Earth of intelligent life from space. Madsen has assembled a U.S.- and Euro-centric array of astrophysicists, military officers, theologians, psychologists and lawyers, most of whom address the camera, and the imaginary alien "you," with burning questions: "What makes you...