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Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 21,393 users  
Reviews: 179 user | 81 critic

A movie with no conventional plot: merely a collection of expertly photographed scenes. Subject matter has a highly environmental theme.

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Title: Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
...
Himself (uncredited)
Ted Koppel ...
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
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Storyline

Koyaanisqatsi is a documentary (of sorts). It is also a visual concert of images set to the haunting music of 'Phillip Glass'. While there is no plot in the traditional sense, there is a definate scenario. The film opens on ancient native American cave drawings, while the soundtrack chants "Koyaanisqatsi" which is a Hopi indian term for "life out of balance". The film uses extensive time lapse photography (which speeds images up) and slow motion photography to make comparisons between different types of physical motion. In one of the first examples, we see cloud formations moving (sped up) intercut with a montage of ocean waves (slowed down) and in such a way we are able to see the similarities of movement between these natural forces. 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 ... Written by Andrew M. Somers <film@myndex.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Until now, you've never really seen the world you live in. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

24 August 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Godfrey Reggio was hooked on Philip Glass doing the music. He approached Glass through a mutual friend, and Glass replied, "I don't do film music." Reggio persisted, and finally the friend told Glass that the tenacious guy was not going to go away without at least an audience. Glass relented, though he still insisted he wasn't doing the music. Reggio put together a photo montage with Glass' music as the soundtrack, which he presented to Glass at a private screening in New York. Immediately following the screening, Glass agreed to score the film. See more »

Goofs

About an hour into the movie, the camera operator is reflected in the elevator's glass window as the elevator passes "between" floors while shooting the escalators. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
title card: Translation of the Hopi Prophecies sung in the film: "If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster." - "Near the Day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky." - "A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."
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User Reviews

 
One of the most brilliant movies ever made!
5 November 2003 | by (Lyngby, Denmark) – See all my reviews

This is a stunningly beautiful movie. The music by Phillip Glass is just a work of pure genius. I can watch this movie again and again. The final sequence of the Hobi legend's judgment where the container falls from the sky is just unbelievable. How was it filmed? It's so amazing. If you have not seen this film watch it - again and again! This must be the only movie which in a powerful way, far better than, say, "Apocalypse Now", sums up why our current "civilization" might be heading for destruction. Moreover, "Koyaanisquatsi" "defamiliarizes" the world and humanity allowing the viewer to benefit from a "verfremdung" viewpoint. In other words, we learn so much about our own life and life in general by watching it from this entirely new viewpoint of "Koyannisqautsi", where fast motion is used extensively. What is mankind about? Why are we moving so fast? Towards what goal? What is nature? What is the driving force of nature? What is the pulse of the earth? What is our relation with ourselves, nature and other people and animals? Moreover, I think this movie is better than the sequel "Powaquatsi". Anyway, I cannot emphasize enough how brilliant "Koyaanisqatsi" is. Watch it! Watch it! Watch it!


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