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Koyaanisqatsi (1982) - Plot Summary Poster

(1982)

Plot Summary

  • 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 nature yet still following the patterns of natural flow as depicted in the beginning of the film, yet in chaos and disarray. Through this the film conveys its key message, which is Koyaanisqatsi: life out of balance; crazy life; life in turmoil; life disintegrating; a state of life that calls for another way of living.

    - Written by Andrew M. Somers <film@myndex.com>
  • This movie was designed to have no plot. Meaning is to be created by the viewer, and only the viewer can give value to the images and music. That said, there is a central idea behind the movie, and according to the director it is this: The greatest event in the history of mankind has occurred recently, and has been largely missed by both the media and academia. Beyond the headlines and every day crises of international events, a deeper shift in human affairs has occurred: Humanity no longer exists in the natural world, we are no longer connected to it. It is not that we are now users of technology, but rather that we exist within technology, we are part of it and it is part of us. The natural world now exists only to support the artificial one in which we live.

    - Written by Adam

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