Trish Govini photo
For a man who has eschewed dialog for his entire hypnotic filmography, Godfrey Reggio sure loves to talk. In interview, he comes front-loaded with philosophical riffs, turns of phrase, metaphors, and more. Some of it is evidence of years promoting, explaining, and defending his films. Some of it is his joy of living. And, although he hasn’t said so, some may be the flip-side of his youth, where he spent 14 years in silence as he studied to be a monk for the Congregation of Christian Brothers.
Mr. Reggio is best known for his “Qatsi” trilogy, which debuted in 1982. Its first film, “Koyaanisqatsi” (Hopi for “Life out of Balance”) was “the” art-house film of the ’80s, an updated ’60s head-trip that began with gorgeous helicopter shots until descending into beehive-like, time-lapse footage of the modern city, all propelled by Philip Glass’ hypnotic score. The film propelled both Mr. Reggio’s and Mr. Glass’ careers, and while Mr. Glass went on to score many Hollywood films, Mr. Reggio worked on the sequels: “Powaqqatsi” (“Life in Transformation”) from 1988, and “Naqoyqasti” (“Life as War”) from 2002. Not only is UCSB showing the trilogy in full this Saturday at the Arlington, but they’ll be showing Mr. Reggio’s latest, “Visitors.” Shot in 5k digital and in slow-motion black and white, it’s much like his short film from 2002, “Evidence,” which showed at UCSB with live Philip Glass Ensemble backing. The film turns the camera on an audience as it watches a film. Like all of Mr. Reggio’s work, it’s hypnotic, mesmerizing, but without narrative, as much as audiences love to insert a story into his images. (Another thing you learn talking to Mr. Reggio: he dislikes the word “experimental.” “That’s for science,” he says.)