Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology.
Koyaanisqatsi is also a visual concert of images set to the haunting music of Phillip Glass The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse photography of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. Godfrey Reggio made an extensive use of them to comparise different types of physical motion. This technique of comparison exists throughout the film, and through it we learn more about the world around us. The film progresses from purely natural environments to nature as affected by man, and finally to man's own manmade environment, devoid of nature yet still following the patterns of natural flow as depicted in the beginning of the film, yet in chaos and disarray.

The power of Reggio's imagery is a function not so much of his subject matter, but of the way in which the imagery is presented. The Glass accompaniment emphasizes the grace of movement, which have the impact of a miracolous dance.
The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means 'crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living', and the film implies that modern humanity is living in such a way.
Reggio's montage is as fully slow motion as his individual images. We foreswear normal consumption patterns and meditate on individual human beings. Reggio's combination of slow motion and extended shots allows for a contemplation of the variety and beauty of individual, laboring human being. Beyond the headlines and every day crises of international events, a deeper shift in human affairs has occurred: Humanity no longer exists in the natural world, we are no longer connected to it!
You can buy Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance.


Gwilllion said...

Immagine e musica si sposano a meraviglia. Io amo la musica di questo film. Ammetto che l'ho trovato un po' lungo, ma certe inquadrature erano semplicemente stupende. Mi lascia un po' perplessa il passaggio da deserto a vita iperurbana... la trovo una forzatura retorica, lo ammetto.

Anonymous said...

We wake up, rush to work, eat quickly (fast food)and rush home.
We sleep less, spend more(credit cards),talk a lot(especially about ourselves: chat, blogs)and spend the weekend partying.We never slow down and think about others,the state of the world or where we are headed unless something unusual happens which forces us to slow down:an accident,illness,a break-up,reading David L.Weatherford's poem Slow Dance or watching a movie like Koyaanisqqatsi. Only then do we realize that we're not living,we're surviving.