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Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 21,365 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:

October 4, 1982. More than 5,000 people filled the sold out Radio City Music Hall to experience a remarkable film event. That event was the world premiere of KOYAANISQATSI. Now everyone can share the power of that experience. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One shot of a mountain range was provided by MacGillivray-Freeman Films; the shot was leftover footage from The Shining (1980). 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."
See more »

Connections

Features Robotron: 2084 (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Breathtaking
25 March 2005 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Make no mistake -- you need to get into the right mood to properly enjoy this film. Try watching it with your cynical or populist friends and they'll pour scorn upon it. Don't try to convince others to 'get it' as they won't.

The best thing to do is to turn off all of the lights, pump up the sound and absorb yourself in the spectacle that unfolds on the screen. If you do this, you'll experience one of the most breathtaking, moving and exciting pieces of art ever. There are few films that reach these heights -- 2001: A Space Odyssey is the only one that instantly comes to mind.

Don't analyse it until it's finished. Talking through it will ruin it. I've found that the film works best on an emotional level so switch your brain off and just watch and listen. By the time it's finished, you'll feel like you've been on an exhausting and exhilarating journey that you'll want to take again not long afterwards.


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