Courtesy of Metrodome Group
Written and Directed by Godfrey Reggio
Music by Philip Glass
Cinematography by Graham Berry, Trish Govoni, Tom Lowe
Running time: 87 minutes
Country: United States
Language: No dialogue
Genre: experimental documentary
Filmed in Louisianna, New York, New Jersey and over the moon.
Trot de couleurs distrait le spectateur – Jacques Tati – (Too much colours distracts the viewer).
How to locate Visitors on a cinema-photo-videography map?
Hungary. Bela Tarr and Ádám Magyar for their crisp-high-definition-highly contrasted-dimension in time photography.
France. Yoann Lemoine aka Woodkid. Also for his crisp highly contrasted own music videos with a blend of “threatening” architectural buildings (Run Boy Run), but also for his operatic-orchestral music. He and Philip Glass “accidentally” met recently.
Brazil. Sebastiao Salgado. For his texture photography work.
US. Bill Viola. For his extended slow-motion of people's portraits close-ups. Gus Van Sant. For his unforgettable time lapse speed of clouds in My Own Private Idaho.
Armenia. Artavazd Peleshyan for his faces in The End (mentioned in Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Night Train).
Visitors is the first B&W docu-film by Godfrey Reggio. Still wordless. Still soundtracked by Philip Glass. Presented by Steven Soderbergh and in 4K resolution (4000 pixels across as opposed to 1000 pixels across in HD).
Visitors opens on Triska, a female lowland Gorilla. She looks straight at us. Two minutes at least. We look at her, at our similar physical geography Mammal Being.
Then, craters as if walking on the moon. Moving under the Novus Ordo Seclorum encrypted building as if lying on a skate board under a car; rolling towards the sky on high speed clouds.
Single faces of adults or children alternate with imposing architectural buildings, abandoned fun fairs, crowd of faces, swamps in Atchafalaya Basin, full rootal structure of trees, hands on virtual digital gadgets, a cemetery, a dumping ground...
Triska is gazing back at us! As the camera is zooming out, we are gazing back at her gazing at a standing crowd gazing at her.
For 87 minutes, Visitors journey us on 74 shots, over 70 seconds for each shot when nowadays, a normal cut is less than 10 seconds. We don’t get to see thousands of images, but we get time to immerse on a poetical kaleidoscope of nature and technology that the human race is confronted to.
When we watch the tranquil faces of children or adults, they are either looking at a TV set/games playing or looking at the camera. The result being of two different focuses. Some are being sucked out of themselves, hypnotised while others sink into themselves, possibly more in control of their surroundings.
In some sort of subliminal narrative, Reggio and Glass guide us to a story, the story of the world seen through a range of portraits and emotions that determine who we are in this world, or rather what we have become! Reggio says “Today, a world is born into a child at birth rather than the child born into the world... how fragile we human beings are especially when we’re forced to live in mass societies... we are entertained to death” About technology, he continues “... Gadgets are just an emblem of what it is. Technology is now like the air we breathe. It’s ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. It’s the environment of life, and if my point of view is accurate that we become the environment we live in, we are now becoming technology.”
When in the last century, Einstein was supposedly concerned about technology and might have said something like “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”, Reggio & Glass propose to remember life as a cyclic way. Reggio uses B&W to bare any notion of contemporary settings while Glass offers an operatic rāga approach in his musical creation.
With his Qatsi Trilogy (Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqatsi-also an accent on technology) spanning over a 30 years period, Reggio plunged us in an over-active life where language could no longer describe the world in which we lived. With Visitors, our world of communication seems to be nearing perhaps ostracism or autism.
Reggio latest opus doesn’t pretend to give any forms of explanation on its optical trip and maybe its lack of it creates a state of disequilibrium. We are not being entertained here but we are viscerally affected. We are invited to be stared at and stare at. When Reggio (born 1939) was 14, he “enrolled” as a monk and his novice master taught him to stare at something until it looked unusual. Trouble is that today, in Western societies, people spend much of their time staring at their mobile phones.
If we, living beings, are on a “robotic” journey, Triska is probably the most worried of us all. Is she looking at us in defiance?
These striking images are here for sure to remind us that we have come on this Blue Planet as visitors. We are guests... in mutation.
Visitors is an experience to stare on big screen.
Trailer = http://vimeo.com/73783583#at=0
More info = http://visitorsfilm.com/
More pix on FB = https://www.facebook.com/babylondon.orbital