Our heads (and in some cases, our actual bodies) are still in Cannes, but it’s not long at all until the fall festival season starts off. Indeed, the Toronto International Film Festival reps aren’t waiting for Cannes to wrap up to make their first announcement, as news has come in of a high-profile screening that, while it won’t exactly be grabbing tabloid headlines, will certainly interest a certain kind of film fan very much indeed.
Deadline are reporting that Godfrey Reggio, the experimental filmmaker behind the acclaimed “Koyaanisqatsi,” and its two sequels “Powaqqatsi” and “Naqoyqatsi,” has completed a new film, his first in eleven years, entitled (in a break with tradition) “Visitors“, and the film will premiere at TIFF on September 8th. If you’ve never seen the films, they’re art/documentary hybrids, stunningly shot, and accompanied by scores by Philip Glass, dealing with industrialization in the first world, and the increasing influence of technology.
Reggio’s films have always had a cult following, and that should be helped this time around by the presence of the we-thought-you-were-retiring Steven Soderbergh, who’s going to be ‘presenting’ the film. Glass is again scoring the film, and the TIFF screening will be accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra live.
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Soderbergh suggests that it’s something new for Reggio, saying “It’s connected to the other Qatsi films in the sense it’s Godfrey’s wordless take on a certain subject, but he’s changed his game here. There’s more directing in it, more things he’s specifically staging for the camera than he’s done before, and there are performers in the film. He’s taken what he does and pushed it into a new area, which was really exciting for me to watch. It’s thirty years ago this year when ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ came out. I watched it again, and there just isn’t a single, visual idea in that movie that hasn’t been ripped off, assimilated, regurgitated, built upon. Actually I watched all three films again, and it made me laugh how other directors just took his language and just ran with it. Here, he’s moved the goal post as if to challenge others and say, ‘Alright, let’s see what you can do with this.’ It’s so striking, but not necessarily immediately applicable to what everybody else does. They’ll have to work to steal this one.” Yep, we’re game. Assuming this is the same project that was previously announced as “The Holy See,” you can watch a trailer for it below. Will this do for people what the ‘Qatsi’ films did for landscapes?