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Special Features: Interviews with Godfrey Reggio, Jon Kane, Philip Glass, Steven Soderbergh; Trailers; The Making of VISITORS (VICE/The Creators Project)
Top Customer Reviews
The movie is, of course, not for everyone. Much slower than the Qatsi films and with an inner meaning that is not entirely obvious. Anyone familiar with Reggio's work already knows that he is often sometimes bleakly critical of modern society and its dependence on technology. Visitors is making some comment on that, but the film's larger meaning is mostly vague and mysterious, which I think personally adds to its charm. The word "pretentious" has been thrown around in reviews both here and in the media, but there's nothing remotely pretentious about the movie...it's just obviously a very specific work of art that demands more attention than what normally passes for cinema these days. Initially, the film kinda baffled me, but then it slowly began to work it's magic on me and I realized how truly masterful it was.
On the visuals: The vast majority of the scenes are super-slow motion of people and time lapse of the landscape, they are both exceptionally fine detailed and beautifully rendered in black and white--Ansel Adams would be proud. Prolific use of apparent infrared sensors on trees (making green leaves pure white) and ultra high contrast on the outdoor scenes gives a striking effect, but it's strangeness compared to the faithfully reproduced images of people's faces was a little puzzling to me. We are given lots of time to examine the expressions of the people, especially the children, in a way that is rare in cinema. The scenes are akin to the "slow people" candid street scenes in Koyannisqatsi and Baraka, but here we have studio shots, professionally set up and staged. So they lose a context and force the viewer to create one. I think that's what Reggio had in mind. It forces the audience to create their own story line, if they feel a need for one.
On the audio: Philip Glass has created some of his finest work here. He has tempered his minimalist style with Richard Strauss-like lush orchestration, transitions similar to Wagner opera and harmony reminding us of Anton Bruckner. In fact, 2 or 3 minutes of the score seemed like it could have been written by Bruckner. The result is coherent, a symphony related to but not a slave to the visuals.Read more ›
For me, conventional movies work best if I know almost nothing going in. Visitors is the exact opposite. Godfrey and Phillip explain why. The purpose of Visitors is to allow each person in the audience to provide their own individual meaning to the film. The images are remote, the music is the bridge to access the images. Those are almost direct quotes. For me, Visitors achieves maybe 90% of its purpose.
Maybe another way to describe Visitors is like this: Imagine you are trying to do the very first painting in your life. The most important thing is that you want your painting to mean something. So first you try to start with a blank canvas. But that's too hard, its too empty, there's too many possibilities. So then you try with a paint-by-numbers kit. But that's too simple, it's too inflexible, it already has a meaning different from yours. Visitors is at the middle point, between a blank canvas and a paint-by-numbers kit.
My first thought with the images in Visitors was "This *really* needs to be in color." But that's wrong. In fact, my idea about color came from the extraordinary beauty of the B/W images. Several of the outdoor scenes were shot in infrared, which gives them an other-worldly beauty. The portraits are as beautiful as any portraits in the Koyaanisqatsi line, or the Baraka line. Visitors seems unique in the way a portrait first begins as a static picture, and is then transformed by slow motion into eloquent human expression. Words can't really describe it.
The music is another aspect of Visitors which is a lot different from most films. The interviews say it best. Basically, the music doesn't interpret the images. The music doesn't lead the audience around by the hand.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not something you'll want to watch over again, like the Qatsi Trilogy.Published 2 months ago by Jerry
I hated it. Nothing like what I expected nor in the league of films with which it is compared.Published 3 months ago by Happy Poet
Sort of boring. It's a great exercise in staring into strangers eyes without the threat of presence. But the point is over done and tiring.Published 5 months ago by Mark Bertrand
It's definitely different. Not for all viewers. I definitely enjoyed the music and visuals though.Published 6 months ago by tombrokeoff
A very engaging and almost hypnotic visual montage set to the music of Philip Glass. It reminded me of the film Koyaanisqatsi that I saw many years ago. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Curt Hohmann
Like Reggio's best-known work Koyaanisqatsi, this is abstract cinema: but (relatively speaking) not nearly as engaging. Read morePublished 8 months ago by M. Derby