As a meditative contemplation of life, Godfrey Reggio’s film in black and white film will polarise audiences. Opening with another Philip Glass’s electronic mind-numbing soundtrack, the tone is one of menace and portending gloom. Gradually the face of an ape looms into view, followed by a spacecraft. Is this going to be a mystery from outer space, a documentary on UFOs or astronauts?
Soon we discover there is no narrative structure or dialogue just sound and vision. We are left to contemplate, for what seems like an eternity, a series of faces as inquiring of the audience as it is about them. Time lapse sequences follow endless views of buildings, tree stumps and hands – all painstakingly portrayed by Reggio’s unrelenting lens. A filmmaker of outstanding originality and vision, who has given us KOYAANISQATSI (1982), POWAQQATSI (1988); ANIMA MUNDI (1992) and NAQOYQATSI (2002) has made a powerful contribution to the film world. Yet VISITORS feels cold, uninviting and difficult to engage with. You will either embrace his approach as filmic Nirvana or turn and walk away. MT
VISITORS IS ON GENERAL RELEASE FROM 11 APRIL 2014