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Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 21,576 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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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The music video of "Hard to Explain" by _The Strokes features several scenes from this film along with clips from WarGames (1983) and Brainstorm (1983). 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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Connections

Referenced in Baraka (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Out of balance
8 February 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Godfrey Reggio's magnificent documentary "Koyaanitsqatsi" was an amazing experience when it first came out more than twenty years ago. Watching for a second time, this time in DVD format, one realizes how this movie makes the case that it must be seen in the big screen in order to get all the brilliant cinematography in its proper perspective. Even watching it in a 32 plasma screen, one realizes it pales in comparison when projected on a larger movie theater screen.

The images that are presented in the film are just beyond belief. The fantastic music score by that genius, Phillip Glass, compliments and enhances our experience. This film will live forever in spite of some of the comments submitted to this forum, because it deals with universal themes that will stay with us on this planet while human life will exist. This was pioneer movie making that later on became main stream. The originality being in the way the director presents the different sections in the film with some unusual photography that, while imitated, remains the standard for comparison with any new so called latest technique and innovation.

Kudos to Mr. Reggio, Mr. Glass and the people behind this gorgeous film.


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