Reciprocal Gaze: An Exclusive Interview with "Visitors" Director Godfrey Reggio

Thirty years after their original collaboration for Koyaanisqatsi, filmmaker Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass are at it again with documentary where the audience is placed in an unusual situation: watching the varied expressions of others interacting with technology. This video, an Fstoppers exclusive, gives you a look into the mind of Godfrey Reggio while making the film.

Featuring black and white digital projections and comprised of only 74 shots, Visitors reveals humanity’s relationship with technology and its massive effects that reach far beyond the human species. Visitors is described as "a transcendent work that redefines the film medium." Visitors also features music by Glass performed by the Bruckner Orchester Linz and made its worldwide premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.

It's so different, I would not be surprised if the plot was difficult to grasp. This synopsis explained it best for me:

Dialogue-free documentary about humans' relationship with modern life and with technology. Filmed in black and white, with music by composer Philip Glass, this documentary aims to give people an understanding of how technology has taken over our daily lives. As the camera pans through a selection of people and animals, while they are engaged in a technological activity of some sort, the audience carefully watches for their reactions and expressions.


The entire film is comprised of only seventy-four shots, made up of a series of human, animal and landscape portraits. Godfrey explains in his own words, “Visitors is aimed at the solar plexus, at the appetite within us all, the atmosphere of our soul. I see the film as a meditation, as a transcendental event.”

This looks to be a fascinating take on the medium, and if nothing else can be admired for the way it was shot. You can see the trailer below:

Check out a thorough review of the film as well, due out on Blu-ray on June 10, 2014.

The best tidbit in my opinion? Stare at something ordinary until it appears unusual.

Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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