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 »
A young artist draws a face at a canvas on his easel. Suddenly the mouth on the drawing comes into life and starts talking. The artist tries to wipe it away with his hand, but when he looks... See full summary »
Elizabeth Lee Miller,
Forty year old documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee has a penchant for filming everything around him. Following the announcement of his impending marriage to his film-making partner Marilyn ... See full summary »
A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.
It's been a real privilege to have followed Godfrey Reggio's work from Koyaanisqatsi (1982) until his latest, Visitors, a bold and profound continuation of his cinematic vision and dialogue.
Some of the readers of the reviews of this movie will hopefully see the particularly relevant irony of those who lividly complain about this movie being "boring, "slow", "uninteresting", "pointless", "a waste of time", "worst movie ever", "watch in fast forward mode!". They may never appreciate that the long takes of people's faces, seemingly in trances, are simply reflections of their own faces in the Reggio mirror. They are looking at themselves as they spend most of their awake time - visually plugged into their Wide Screen TVs, computer screens, video games, movie screens, smart phones, etc.. Immediate gratification, exuberant sensory stimulation and simple short answers frustratingly pervade these commentators as it does our now screen-based civilization.
With the ubiquity of screen-based existence, humanity has changed drastically in only a few decades. It's up to you to decide if that's good or bad but if you are familiar with Reggio's work, it can pretty much be summed up as his artistic rendering of the impact industry and technology has had on us - our species - spiritually, culturally, socially, individually, artistically, commercially etc, and importantly, the parallel impacts these changes have had on nature. The continuous visual juxtaposition between humans and animals, between dead buildings and dead landscapes are pure Reggio, beautiful yet deeply dark, illustrating this parallel both literally and in layers of metaphor and symbolism. The inability to sense or comprehend these layers is, as always, a limitation of the viewer, not the artist.
The movie itself, is bold in a number of ways.
Style-wise, it is Reggio's first all black & white feature with all or much of the background transformed to black and foreground detail replaced with blown out whites - visually stunning. The underlying themes are so effectively brought out with this style. The complete lack of colour further emphasizes the addiction of our culture to sensory extremes which induce pleasing and intense moods/mental states that do not require physical motion (other than to actuate a mouse or remote control) and only require our eyes to be open and lock into the screen interface.
But the true boldness is that the focus of his "critique" is not generally towards modern human civilization (industry, war, human exploitation, environmental exploitation, poverty, etc..) as in his previous work but this time, there is a personal element mixed in with the more familiar artistic diatribe against technology. This time, you look into the Reggio mirror, and you see yourself staring, blankly, quasi-comatose, right back at yourself. You are watching yourself.. watch yourself, and it's not pretty. An unsettling realization for each and every one of us.
Relax, perhaps a glass of wine, settle down for an hour and a half, douse pre-expectations, open your mind and experience another Reggio masterpiece. Ask yourself what 'Visitor' means Buddhists already know.
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