Directed by Suzan Pitt • 2011 • United States
Surrealistic and strange, cast in grainy 16 mm images, VISITATION allows an imaginary glimpse into the aura of “an outer-world night.” The visions in the film are summoned from the filmmaker’s imagining of a mythical eternity that is beautiful but fraught with pain, exposed by the ether voices and figures which inhabit the eternal ballet beneath our consciousness. “My mood at the time had served to aggravate those deeply inhuman and most terrible beings when they came with total abandonment from where they had lurked amongst the stones and wet woods . . .” With these lines, VISITATION unwinds through a hand-painted heavenly hell of unending life and death. Steeped in the alchemical and inner dream life, the film explores a black-and-white landscape of gothic figures who enact evolving metaphysical dramas. Using painted cut-outs and early-cinema techniques (multiple passes, mattes, multi-plane levels, in-camera superimpositions, shutter manipulation, etc.) the film was shot with a 16 mm Bolex camera in black and white, which gives it a grainy, handmade look. The abstract passages were created by placing objects directly onto raw film and exposing the film with a flashlight. Thus the film’s process mirrors the alchemical nature of chemical, material, and metaphysical experimentation.