Sunday, November 30, 2008
Simultaneously slow and hypnotic, The Visitor pulled me into the lives of its characters. The film reminds one that countless heartrending stories are happening every day, every hour, all around us. Professor Walter Vale stops in at his long-vacant New York City apartment and finds Zainab and Tarek, two illegal immigrants who have been living there for months. The film is about the impact they have on one another.
While the performances are strong, the most noteworthy part of this film is the cinematography. I became aware of how the world is made up of shapes, and how New York City is made up of lots and lots and lots of shapes. This sounds like a simple realization, but the way the scenes were shot made it feel profound. Each image was both familiar and completely new. This duality - the fact that so many things are themselves and their opposite - seems to be the heart of the movie. I was left feeling ambiguous, both achingly sad and somehow content. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.