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Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 21,992 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)

Koyaanisqatsi (1982) on IMDb 8.3/10

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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:

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:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although most of the film was shot in the US, some of it is stock footage of Soviet military operations. The tanks in long lines are recognizably of Soviet manufacture, and only the Soviets used rockets to soften the landing of equipment in an airdrop. 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

Featured in Docventures: Ihmiskunta (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.


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