by writer/producer/director Godfrey Reggio
“Leap and the Net Will Appear”
There are many kinds of gumbo to suit many kinds of taste. As with gumbo, so with film: it is the imagination of the cook, the filmmaker, which offers and limits all cuisine and viewing. The principal menu of today’s main course movies, nine out of eight features, is the screenplay, story-driven, plot and character-developed film. As brilliant and entertaining as narrative films may be, their commanding presence and entrenched familiarity do not eliminate the contrariety of other cinematic forms.
Visitors is of another form. It removes the foreground of traditional cinema, plot and characterization, and elevates the background, place and “extras” to the foreground. In so doing it brings focus to that which is invisible by virtue of its presence, that which is hidden in plain sight—the background. In this sense, not only the blind cannot see. Through the lens of an artopsy, in the moonlight of black & white and infrared cinema, see with one’s own eyes what the eye cannot see: the hidden presence of a world more real than true.
We make assumptions for the sake of our behavior. Expectations frequently originate in unquestioned routines. May I suggest, as Visitors is an odd one in, that you leave assumptions and expectations at the door. Visitors is a syntax for the eye, embracing texture not text. Poetic cinema is the form, pictorial composition the medium, transubstantiation of images into feelings the intention. With more to say than can be spoken, this infliction is aimed at the solar plexus. Visceral, non-mental is the direction.
In forgoing entertainment, logical discourse and linear story, poetic cinema opens the screen to the play of the aesthetic triplets: sensation, emotion and perception. What they may lack in text, they gain in intensity, spontaneity and impression. Their truth is visible, shining light on the invisible truth of who and where we are. In a meta-language of image and music, their presence may evoke a conversation of feelings, face to face, with you.
The subject of this film is you watching the film. This autodidactic form is to invite and engage the aesthetic triplets that reside within us all. In this story to behold, you are the storyteller; you are the plot and character. What you see is what you hear. Being free-in-deed, the film you watch could be vastly different from the experience of the person sitting next to you. There is an insightful Latin saying—“quid, quid recipitur”—one receives according to their vessel. Bringing your vessel, your bowl, I hope this gumbo finds resonance with your taste.
For those willing to journey beyond their familiar, to stop making sense, the reciprocal gaze of Visitors may penetrate beneath the surface of the frame to a deeper layer, to a voice within. Being on speed in rush hour, outrunning the future, may I caution that it is not your seat-belt, but your soul-belt that you fasten for this journey into the vivid unknown.