Seeing One Another Anew with Godfrey Reggio's Visitors

In Craig Fox & Britt Harrison (eds.), Philosophy of Film Without Theory. Palgrave Macmillan (2023)
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Visitors is a hybrid art film fusing photography and music into a complex abstract texture for the attention of the viewer. It is also a requiem for our ‘New Order for the Ages’ in which humanity grows more and more technologically interconnected and communality means being alone together. We argue that Visitors can be experienced as a seeing aid designed to situate the viewer bewilderingly as needing to reacquire the capacity to see human beings as human beings. This is achieved by various cinematic strategies of dépaysement, which render the familiar uncommon again by enabling us to recapture the uncanniness of what it is to be human. Most strikingly, seeing one another anew is facilitated in Visitors by the autonomous gradual musical processes of Philip Glass’s minimalist score, which not only affords a musical narrative for the imagery but also binds the film ironically to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

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Eran Guter
Max Stern Yezreel Valley College


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