What two films would you show extraterrestrials? Check out this week's Ask the Critic question, then post your own

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated February 09, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

What two films would you show extraterrestrials?

If you had to pick two films to introduce the human race to extraterrestrials, what would they be? — Chris Donahue

A Clockwork Orange and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Dr. Strangelove and Lassie Come Home? I’m glad you specified two, because the pairing leaves room to acknowledge that we have the capacity for both amazing evil and generous good. And any programmer of a Marsdance Film Festival would prefer to pick a duo rather than stuff the contradictions into one Schindler’s List-like whammy.

For a movie that captures the dark side of the force in our own galaxy, then, I’ll go with 1963’s Lord of the Flies, Peter Brook’s unnerving, edgy adaptation of William Golding’s novel about schoolboys turned savage; the message about the beast within each of us is impossible to miss. For human warmth, though, I prefer something subtler: Edward Yang’s marvelous Yi Yi (2000), in which three generations of a Taiwanese family make sense of life, death, and everything in between.

(Got a question for Owen or Lisa? Post it here.)