film January 22, 2014 By Sophie Mollart

From Godfrey Reggio’s <em>VISITORS</em>. Courtesy of: Cinedigm

From Godfrey Reggio’s VISITORS. Courtesy of: Cinedigm

Reggio’s trajectory into filmmaking was an untraditional one. Born in New Orleans to a family of Italian Catholics, he was a precocious and worldly kid, who, none-the-less, decided to join the Christian Brotherhood at the age of fourteen, remaining a monk for the duration of his young life before deciding to leave at twenty-eight. “It had a big influence on me – leaving was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never been sorry that I did it and I’ve never been sorry that I left. I did final vows, I was a lifer; it was much like living in the middle-ages. It was a joyful time, a whole other way of living. Its not about you, its about the community – it makes you very aware that its not about you.”

An encounter with the great Spanish master of the cinematic surreal, Luis Bunuel, sparked what would become a life-long passion for Reggio, who was, at the time, living in New Mexico and regularly working with street gangs. “I saw Los Olvidados, a beautiful film that had nothing to do with entertainment. It was like a lightning bolt, like god speaking to you from the home office. One of the brothers showed it to me – brothers don’t see movies but one of them sneaked it in to show it to me. It’s all about street gangs in the barrios of Mexico City. I was so moved I bought a copy of the film. It got me interested in cinema, in fact it changed my life – I felt if I could be so moved by that medium, than gee-whiz, that would be something to explore.”

Visitors, much like the Qatsi-trilogy before it, is devoid of language – a meditative exploration of man’s place in the world.

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