Visitors (NR)

Documentary 87 January 24, 2014
By Calum Marsh
Watching a Godfrey Reggio movie is like hearing somebody brag about not owning a TV -- it's insufferable as much for being sanctimonious as for being utterly clichéd. Reggio remains best known for Koyaanisqatsi, a nonfiction film whose time-lapse cityscape photography and grandly arpeggiated score drew attention away from its shallow, self-righteous thesis. You may recall the film's original subheading: "Life Out of Balance," the title's English translation and a point underlined, in one montage of contemporary disorder after another, in the thickest felt tip pen. Alas, life hasn't straightened itself out much in the 32 years since Koyaanisqatsi -- and Reggio hasn't grown any less tiresomely indignant. The complaints leveled by his latest film, Visitors, will sound familiar to anyone who has spent time with a senile relative: kids these days with their smartphones and videogames, and so on. We've been rendered zombies before our luminescent screens, and, naturally, Reggio wants to have a stern word with us about that. Philip Glass returns to score the lecture (and his contributions provide the usual pleasures), but what happened to the visual splendor? Koyaanisqatsi was a marvel of smeared and kaleidoscopic light; Visitors is a dull etch of digital blacks and grays. Instead of panoramic globe-trotting, we get faces in an artificial room: The film is a catalog of faces, each in turn transfixed, of course, by a television screen. The lesson is insultingly simple, and incorrect. We're slaves to the screen, you say? Not to this one. I found it quite easy to look away.
Godfrey Reggio Stephen Grivno, Triska Emily Godfrey Reggio Lawrence Taub, Godfrey Reggio, Phoebe Greenberg, Penny Mancuso, Jon Kane, Mara Campione Cinedigm Digital Cinema

Watch the Trailer


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >