Taking the definition of film to its literal boundaries, director Godfrey Reggio’s Visitors is a cinematic experience like no other.
Compiled solely of black and white images, Visitors boasts a mere 74 shots over a running time of 87 minutes. Each shot reveals only the most sedate of motions: a blink of the eye, the parting of lips, trance like imagery enhanced with an audio background of orchestral music.
The slow, surreal transition from each moving image to the next allows the audience to study the intricate way Reggio has translated ordinary faces and landscapes into delicate works of art – each as opposed to its predecessor as the first.
One particularly strong sequence of filming in Visitors is the capturing of human hands using modern technology – specifically a computer mouse. The separation of hands as body parts in their own artistic forms creates wonderful illusions. It is to the director’s credit that such a mundane subject (as hands are) can be transformed into their own mini-masterpieces.
There is responsibility on the audience to approach Reggio’s masterpiece Visitors with an open mind, and the ability to interpret. With no spoken dialogue, and a deliberate leisurely pace, Visitors is constantly on the brink of constructing boredom. Similar to installations found in art galleries where audiences can partake in viewing as much or as little of the footage as they want, by creating a feature-length film, Reggio has attempted a daring, possible entertainment faux-pas.
Whimsical audiences will appreciate the artistic effect of Visitors and its dream-like manipulation. Viewers may even wish to identify Reggio as having created a brand new film genre for this completely unique cinematic experience. However, on the whole the entertainment factor of Visitors is low enough that its feature running time is questionable. A tremendous artistic effort, but one deserved for gallery screening rather than mainstream cinemas.
Visitors is released nationwide on 4th April 2014.
Watch the trailer for Visitors here: