Geoffrey Reggio and his team of cinematographers have been crisscrossing the world to capture unique images of man and nature since 1982’s “Koyaanisqatsi.” That film, and the other two in the “Qatsi” trilogy, was a grand, globe-hopping vision of mankind. Now, the filmmakers change pace and perspective with a more personal photographic study of “Visitors.”
The very first view we have at the start of “Visitors” is of a lowland female gorilla staring placidly into the camera. This is followed by a steady stream of human faces that are looking at us as we look at them. This staring contest should have been one note and boring but Reggio and his team of cinematographers make the slow-paced documentary a mesmerizing exercise in film composition.
Reggio’s longtime (and very recognizable) music collaborator, Philip Glass, provides the score for “Visitors” and it melds perfectly with film images shown. I have never been a fan of Glass’s style of music but the composer does work seamlessly with the director’s visualization. His vision here, the montage of faces, is inter-layered with striking photography of buildings, faces in a crowd, an amusement park, a shabby and closed arcade, the gorilla, again, and incredible footage of the moon.
On the surface, “Visitors” should be a video piece that plays in the corner of an art gallery as part of an exhibit. But, the deftness of Reggio and his team in capturing of beautiful black and white imagery of faces and things make this film a fine one to see by anyone who appreciates Geoffrey Reggio’s unique look at our world. One lyrical shot, the tableau of a swamp, reminds of the majesty of Ansel Adams photographs. That is high praise, indeed. I give it a B+.
Laura did not see this film.
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