Contact moment review: James Fox spotlights Roswell in Brazil

Mark Twain said, “A lie can go around the world and come back while the truth laces up its boots. And everyone who lives in the age of the Internet has seen it firsthand. People refuse to swallow bitter truths and cold, hard facts when sweet, juicy conspiracy theories roll out so easily.

We live in a time when anything seems possible, yet nothing can be taken at face value.

So how are we supposed to process the events in director James Fox’s new film, contact time? Fox’s latest UFO documentary seeks to shed light on the Roswell incident in Brazil. It’s a lot to take in, and even the film’s director admits to dismissing the story after first hearing about it.

But in recent years, former presidents, former CIA directors and the Pentagon have admitted that UFOs/UAPs do exist and warrant military investigation.

Expecting viewers to accept this story is a big ask. But if anyone wants to get to the bottom of this, it’s Fox. The veteran documentary filmmaker has spent the past 25 years doggedly searching for the truth behind the UFO mystery.

His latest film, 2020 The phenomenon, is the gold standard for investigative UFO documentaries. So if Fox is willing to put its reputation on the line for such an extraordinary story, I’m willing to listen.

January 20e, 1996, something strange happened in Varginha, Brazil. To be fair, Strange undersells what has become one of ufology’s most famous cases. In the days leading up to the infamous event, locals reported seeing a wingless cylindrical craft descend into the countryside of Varginha.

The 20e, three sisters were returning home in the afternoon when they encountered what they describe as an otherworldly being. The small humanoid creature was covered in an oily substance and reeked of sulfur and ammonia. After looking into his big red eyes, the young women thought they were face to face with a demon and fled home.

Shortly after, local law enforcement and the Brazilian military arrived on the scene. They chased residents away at gunpoint as they locked down the neighborhood in search of the being.

This documentary presents viewers with a lot to chew on.

First of all, Roswell of Brazil is an appropriate title. There’s an alleged UFO crash, reports from alien survivors, and witnesses who say the military threatened them to keep quiet. What separates Varginha from Roswell is the date the encounter took place. Unlike Roswell, most of the people who experienced what happened in 1996 are still alive. The sisters who reported seeing the being are only in their 40s.

Fox does a thorough job of tracking down leads and making sure key numbers are recorded. He questions witnesses who say they saw the craft and handled the wreckage, as well as soldiers who claim to have transported an extraterrestrial body.

The documentary features some of the most respected names in ufology. AJ Gevaerd is Brazil’s authority on UFOs, and he brings his decades of experience to the investigation. Brazil has a rich history of mind-blowing UFO encounters. So if contact time catches your interest, you’ll definitely want to check out Gevaerd’s extensive body of work.

It’s not a spoiler to say contact time does not provide a smoking gun. And honestly, short of being a living alien, what would convince skeptics that this event happened as described by witnesses? However, Fox convincingly demonstrates that something extraordinary happened by corroborating accounts from multiple angles.

If this event had happened in the age of the Internet, it would have been easier to dismiss the witness’s testimony. These days, potential witnesses are just one social media post away from having their views tainted by what someone else has reported. But in 1996, how do you explain the fact that multiple independent witnesses reported a cigar-shaped wingless craft emitting white smoke? That doesn’t mean they saw an otherworldly craft. What are the odds they both misidentified a satellite or tampered with history.

Fox uses aerial footage and digital recreations to plot crash/encounter timelines. Again, there’s no damning evidence, but it’s hard to discount the number of testimonies that fit together like Lego bricks.

It is highly suspicious that the military locked down the area so soon after the young women reported seeing the creature. Add in the testimony of military personnel tasked with searching for the alleged creature, and this crazy story becomes harder to dismiss. Fox deftly emphasizes the chain of events, carving out a solid case where something out of the ordinary happened.

It helps that longtime Fox collaborator Peter Coyote narrates the doc. Look up the word gravitas in the dictionary and Coyote’s picture appears. Its steady, gritty delivery gives the story an air of authority. It’s a welcome change from the manipulative sensationalism exhibited in too many paranormal investigative documents.

Whereas The phenomenon took a measured, fact-only approach to covering the UFO story, contact time sees Fox add a touch of drama. The film follows Fox’s field investigation as he uncovers new details about the case.

The vibe feels gone Law and order and part All Male Presidentswith a hint of UFO hunters. I half expected to see Fox hovering above a billboard tying testimonials together.

Sometimes the investigative adds a little too much reality TV vibe for my liking, but that style of investigative reporting works more often than it doesn’t. Ultimately, Fox shines a light on the most important detail of any UFO case: the human element.

Fox manages to capture some powerful footage showing witnesses unloading their souls. A man refuses to go on camera, but then spits out detail after detail about his sighting as if he has verbal diarrhea. You can feel how he held onto that story, yearning to get it off his chest.

Another man burst into tears after returning to the scene of his meeting. Again, these aren’t crisis actors playing in front of the camera. They are ordinary people who have spent the past 25 years struggling to make sense of what they have been through. Ordinary people cannot fake this kind of emotional outpouring.

I don’t know what happened in Varginha in Brazil in 1996, and maybe I never will. But I’m sure something major happened. I recently spoke with Fox about contact time, and he told me that the most precious thing in the world is time, and that he wouldn’t spend years investigating this story if he didn’t believe it was true. This belief is seen in every frame of the film.

Fox’s investigation elevates the Varginha case above all the urban legends that circle around UFOs Twitter. Fox got to work, traveling to Brazil, tracking down witnesses and speaking with military personnel who experienced the events first hand.

Fox has once again delivered thought-provoking work on a taboo subject with staggering implications. This is a movie that will blow your mind, thrill you, and maybe even send you into an existential crisis.

Fox isn’t solving the case for good, but that doesn’t mean he’s failed in his mission (despite what people on UFO Twitter have to say). Life isn’t so black and white, and the answers to the UFO mystery exist in the murkiest shade of gray.

contact time draws attention to an explosive mystery behind a military cover-up. Bringing Varginha’s story to light only furthers the journey towards transparency. Before putting out a raging fire, someone has to sound the alarm.




Robert M. Larson