Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »
Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
Balinese Tari Legong Dancers,
Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi,
Puti Sri Candra Dewi
'Journey of Hanuman' preserves moments still existing in India that have not been disturbed by globalization and are connected with the antique spiritual knowledge of India. I wanted to ... See full summary »
More for the walls of an art-gallery than a cinema
Godfrey Reggio first came to international prominence in 1982 with his extraordinary visual essay "Koyaanisqatsi", (I don't think of it as a documentary). This wordless account of 'life out of balance' was followed by "Powaqqatsi" and "Naqoyqatsi", all similarly looking at life on this planet as if seen perhaps by an outsider, an alien observing us but keeping their distance. These films were tone-poems in the most literal sense; wordless they may have been but all driven forward by the continuous, energizing scores of Philip Glass.
He made "Visitors" in 2014. The title alone alludes more to the concept of 'outside' observation although the second face we see, (of many, many faces; the first is that of a large gorilla), is of a young girl looking directly at the camera, followed by that of a man. Who, we find ourselves asking, are the visitors? The faces on the screen? Us, the audience in the auditorium? Are we watching or are we being watched? If "Koyaanisqatsi" was about 'life out of balance' then the measured pace of the shots in "Visitors" would seem to be very much about life in balance although gradually these 'still' images give way to movement, of people in slow motion, of clouds racing across the sky. Children are seen in close-up but they seem to be on a merry-go-round; the balance is being interrupted.
Of course, it's impossible to think of these images without Philip Glass' accompaniment. Perhaps never in the history of the movies has music and image been so conducive to one another than in the films of Godfrey Reggio. Lacking any kind of narrative structure I have often felt his films were more like video installations to be experienced projected onto the walls of an art gallery rather than to be seen in a cinema or on television. They are certainly the kind of films for which the term 'art-house' might have been invented.
"Visitors" is shot in black and white, making it perhaps the most 'art-house' of all his films. Is it boring? I'd be a liar if I didn't say yes but only because we are not used to seeing this kind of film-making, which is hypnotic if nothing else. Is it pretentious? Probably, but in relation to what since no-one else is doing this kind of stuff outside of the avant-garde. What's for certain is, you won't find its like elsewhere.
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