8.3/10
27,085
187 user 82 critic

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Unrated | | Documentary, Music | 24 August 1983 (France)
A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
3,427 ( 2,361)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Powaqqatsi (1988)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An exploration of technologically developing nations and the effect the transition to Western-style modernization has had on them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Stars: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II
Naqoyqatsi (2002)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Stars: Belladonna, Marlon Brando, Elton John
Baraka (1992)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke
Chronos (1985)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.

Director: Ron Fricke
Samsara I (2011)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Director: Ron Fricke
Stars: Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi
Anima Mundi (1992)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Visitors (2013)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Director Godfrey Reggio reveals humanity's trance-like relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Edit

Cast

Uncredited cast:
...
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
...
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Edit

Storyline

This experimental film looks at the world and more specifically the effect man has had on the landscape and the environment. Without narration, the film shows the world in a pristine condition and untouched: blue skies, beautiful landscapes and endless vistas. The man-made world is much less appealing. Essentially a montage using a variety of film techniques to provide a visually stunning montage of images. Written by garykmcd

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 August 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

It took almost 6 years to make 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."
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Catalina Caper (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Kind of like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but without the constant barrage of dialogue...
7 January 2003 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

Koyaanisqatis is an extremely unusual film, and by far one of the most unusual I have ever seen. It takes on the daunting task of portraying the history of the world until modern times (or the early 80s, at least) entirely without dialogue. It is a documentary of sorts, in that it is amazingly informative, but it is filmed like a Hollywood film. Expertly framed shots and flawlessly smooth camera movement and shot composition. There is an unbelievable amount of talent behind this film, both in the fascinating images that are presented and the mesmerizing score by Philip Glass.

It is a very slow moving film, but it manages to keep your attention because, in many cases, it is just so interesting to see the things that are portrayed and the way that they are shown. This is the only film, for example, where you can see a shot of a 737 approaches directly toward the camera over a hot runway in a shot that is possibly over a minute long with no movement other than the sluggish lumbering of the massive plain.

Godfrey Reggio takes Glass's score and places images over it that add to the sound and create an experience that is far greater than, as they say, the sum of its parts. The shots contain camera movement or lack movement, are sped up or slowed down, and have live sound or no live sound depending on the desired effect, and the end result is absolutely hypnotic.

This is a wonderful cinematic experience for people of all ages, and possibly my favorite thing about this film and it's successors is that, because they have no dialogue, they can be shown in any country in the world and not have to worry about subtitles or even altered meanings. This is a film for humanity.


65 of 80 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Blu-Ray wasn't all that great. Ldotdo1
I enjoyed it but didn't take it the right way. Calmest
Definitely sucked torrentbl00d
Anyone else who discovered this film after 'Watchmen' Choekaas
MGM cropped release o770
blu-ray please robots808
Discuss Koyaanisqatsi (1982) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page