Koyaanisqatsi (1982)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1982.  IRE Productions, Santa Fe Institute for Regional Education.  Screenplay by Ron Fricke, Michael Hoenig, Godfrey Reggio, Alton Walpole. Cinematography by Ron Fricke.  Produced by Godfrey Reggio.  Music by .  Film Editing by Ron Fricke, Alton Walpole.  

The title of this fascinating experimental documentary comes from the Hopi language and means “life out of balance”. Using fast and slow motion photographies, the film captures images of patterns that exist in nature as well as human industrial existence: rolling clouds and ocean waves are captured with equally breathtaking beauty as speedily working stock brokers and factory workers while Philip Glass’s haunting minimalist music seeps into your conscious appreciation of the images. The artistic side of you will think it’s genius, while the capitalist in you will tell director Godfrey Reggio to stop judging and get a life. The film was followed by two powerful sequels, Powaqqatsi, which deals with the plight of developing nations, Naqoyqatsi, about technology and human existence, plus the stunning Baraka, directed by this film’s cinematographer Ron Fricke. Rent them all and have a night in with your culturally ignorant, wasteful, first-world oppressor self.

The Criterion Collection:  #640

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