All over the world, scientists and amateurs are actively looking for intelligent forms of extraterrestrial life. Some combine forces in the international organisation SETI, which scans the ether with enormous, professional satellite dishes and global computer networks in search of signals from outer space. Others do it on their own, with homemade dishes in their backyards. Linguists examine the question of how we could communicate with alien life forms, while theologians contemplate the potential religious consequences of things.
In his circumspect documentary, Prosper de Roos follows a broad selection from this highly divergent group of people. In between scenes of these people at work and in interviews, De Roos intersperses poetic shots of starry skies, and especially of terrestrial landscapes. Although Calling E.T. deals with the search for extraterrestrial life, in the end De Roos is chiefly interested in life on earth. By sheer virtue of their uniform concept of alien life rows of identical Martians the researchers expose the fragmented society of earthlings. This also has its consequences for the quest, from the international bickering about who will address possible visitors to the exclusion of a Russian scientist from the supposedly independent SETI.