A Rollercoaster for Autodidacts: The Koyaanisqatsi Director on His Newest, Visitors

image_194322_4.jpg

Godfrey Reggio was a Christian Brother (“a male nun”) for 14 years in New Mexico before directing arguably the most popular experimental feature ever: Koyaanisqatsi. Yet, Reggio doesn’t like the term “experimental” because it’s too scientific. His films, in particular his newest, Visitors, is “experiential. This is an extra-mental activity and knowing we’re all in rush hour traffic outrunning our futures I suggest to audiences it’s not their seat belt but their soul belt they have to put on to be open to this.”

Reggio isn’t specifically speaking as an ex-monk, he’s of the mind the slower we go the more deeply we can observe and that's at the heart of Visitors, which is “about us observing us observing.” If that sounds “tongue-twisting,” don’t fret. Visitors isn’t a riddle and there's no prescribed answer. “What is on the screen hopefully has a voice of its own. If you see the sunset with your sweetheart you don’t ask “what’s the meaning of the sunset?” but you can have a meaningful experience.” And he adds, "In Latin we have a lovely quote: one receives according to their vessel. Obviously we all have different vessels. This [Visitors offers a possibility for everyone to have a different response to it." Which is part of why he sees this as a great picture for autodidacts—people who learn best when they figure things out themselves.

Reggio is really interested in the world hidden in plain sight so he’s trained his camera on otherwise average things, but he especially likes faces—faces watching us—with only occasional trips into other foreign lands: A swamp in Louisiana, the surface of the moon, a female gorilla named Triska on loan from the Bronx Zoo. “In this film she [Triska] is the adult in the room” and Reggio likes her in part because of a quote by Loren Eiseley: 'we’ve not seen ourselves as human beings until we’ve been seen through the eyes of another animal.'

Reggio will be attending the LA opening of Visitors and will attend a number premiers between now and the end of February. Visitors opens in some 35 cities nationally and in Canada (all theatrical distribution via Cinedigm Entertainment) but it’s also playing alongside live symphony accompaniment in some glammy locations abroad. The trippy Phillip Glass score only amplifies the transfixing experience, I couldn't imagining what it must have be like in The Sydney Opera House (where it played January 23 an 24). London will house this treat tonight and Gothenburg, Sweden will follow in the near future. All live bookings are run through Columbia Artist Management Inc. (CAMI).

Sara Vizcarrondo's Latest Blog Entries:

Production for The Two Faces of January began in Athens in August of 2012 and the first day was a major event. Director Hussein Amini planned to stage the...
With a cue from Mike Figgis and the digital revolution (oh, the handheld video and the synth tracks), South Korean provocateur Kim Ki-Duk has returned to his...
Last month, writer/director Paul Mazursky passed away and in honor of the late filmmaker the Landmark Theatre’s Anniversary Classic Series will screen Mazursky...
Around the Block is an Aussie Dangerous Minds with a smarter tack on the racial divide. Then again, maybe it looks that way because it’s easier to see racism...
A horror with threads of gross out comedy, Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero knows very well it’s cheap but loves itself anyway. After Josh (Brandon Eaton) has a...

More Visitors News

Comments