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|Index||178 reviews in total|
I had to see the film a few times before the immediate emotional impact wore off and I could articulate my impression. The impact of this film has reverberated through my psyche since 1983 and if I hadn't had a visionary experience in August of 1982 which was almost identical in format ( not in content ), I would have believed that I was the only one who perceived the advance of modern civilization in just this way. The film approximates the minds ability to extrapolate and organize an order out of a number of random and seemingly unrelated visions one might have perceived over a long period of time in one's life. It, to me, is more interesting and the plot line is more dynamic than any other movie I have ever witnessed other than Powaqqatsi ( which was done by the same people ). I own a copy of both films and watch them over and over without getting tired. Perhaps it is the lack of dialog that holds me inthralled vewing after vewing. I'm not sure. My own vision had no dialog either and I have reviewed it in my minds eye over and over again, also. Maybe language is just too ineffective. The films and my vision make it seem so. I have made no conclusive judgements and maybe that is just. I enjoy the visuals and the music much more than a conventional film.
Koyaanisqatsi was a unique and brave step forward in creating a full length movie composed entirely of images synchronised to music. Since its release in 1983 the stop-frame techniques used in the film to create high speed images inspired many advertisers and music video directors to mimic its dramatic visual effects. The soundtrack which was composed by Phillip Glass is what really makes this movie such a unique and powerful collaboration . Tracks such as 'The Grid' and 'Pruit Igoe' add a constantly changing tempo to the movies dramatic images revealing a new and frightening perspective to mankind's conquest of his planet.
This movie is beautifully photographed and the music is brilliant (Phillip Glass is one of the greatest composers of all time and possibly the greatest modern composer ever). However, I could have done without the tree-hugger propaganda. The producers seem to yearn for a return to the dark ages. They are anti-technology, anti-military and anti-progress. If it were up to them, we would have no cars, planes, oil, elcetricity, or nuclear power. It almost seems like an old Soviet propaganda film about the evils of Capitalism. But, if you can put aside the environmental ignorance, its a beautiful piece of artwork that will stimulate the senses.
This film requires numerous viewings. The 'story' is not apparent at
but there are enlightening clues along the way. The marriage of film to
music is flawless.
Perhaps it's the way God sees the world.
To my opinion every one will experience this movie on a different level,
some will think it's just a piece of crap, but others will think i's
something brilliant. Now, I think it is just great, beacause it changed
life, for the better that is. That's why the 20/10 rating!! Not only the
UNIQUE and MINDBLOWING video fragments (directed by Godfrey Reggio), but
also the GODLIKE, MINDBLOWING music composed by (Philip Glass) is, um,
"Critics around the world have called it 'a remarkable film event. A
breathtaking experience. A fusion of image, and sound.'... Until now
never really seen the world you live in."
In some ways, this film is probably a victim of its own success - many of
the visual techniques have been copied and developed to the point that
they're little more than clichés. But in this film, they are not used as
mere gimmicks - they are central to the film's messages.
Despite the rather heavy-handed explanation at the end of the film of the meaning of 'Koyaanisqatsi' and the other Hopi phrases that are chanted, this is ultimately one of those films where the viewer is genuinely left to reach their own conclusions. For me, this film was about seeing a different perspective of the world to that which we usually experience. Through timelapse photography we see both the awesome power of nature and that of alienation - the subjection of man by his creations. Nature and technology both have an effortless grace in this film, whereas people, caught in the middle, are presented as being insignificant parts of a much larger system, and stumble around clumsily trying to fulfil their roles. At one point, Reggio draws a comparison between the layouts of cities and of circuit boards, as though people are equivalent to bits of information, flowing from A to B, guided by the system rather than by their own free will. But every so often we are reminded that we are individuals, and we can choose not to be a part of that system.
'Beautiful' is not a word I would use to describe this movie, although there are many images that are spectacular to look at. By the end of it, the overall feeling I had was one of discomfort (compounded by the images of debris falling from the sky - at the time I saw it I didn't realise it was merely an unmanned satellite). Though it may be fairly one-sided, the picture this film paints is of humanity under threat from itself - not through conflict, but by a gradual corruption of the Earth.
Still, that's only my interpretation, and another person might well take a completely different view.
To only see Koyaanisqatsi 20 years after release is to be late to the party.
Somehow I missed out on striking up a joint and watching/analysing it during
my student days.
There is much to admire from a detatched, generational-shift viewing of Koyaanisqatsi, not least its notable legacy of many types of film/camera techniques. It is a true precursor of the glossy pop promo, and a prototype for what has been realised through digital effects. It's stylistics have been copied a million times from the opening of 'Bedazzled' to the slow character zooms of Madonna's version of 'American Pie'.
In that sense it loses some of the experiental qualities it would have had in 1983, when its use of time-lapse, slow tracking shots and other tricks had greater novelty value. Nevertheless, some of the sequences, particularly the 'tidal humanity' in the middle of the film possess great power.
The aspect of eye candy aside, Koyaanisqatsi works on the level of revealing the systematic aspects of modern life. This may appear an utter truism, we all know how organised and systematic life is, but seeing it demonstrated in the flow of a bank of escalators, and then segueing that into a hot-dog production line reveals it anew.
However, the film's rather facile corollary - that this is pretty much a bad thing and will all end in apocalyptic disaster is one I do not automatically follow. In some ways it becomes, unintentionally, a paean to the ability of humanity since the Enlightenment to organise, feed and transport itself.
Okay, the Indian prophesies predict a 'Day of Purification', but the fact remains that after millenia of starvation, rampant disease and vulnerability to the elements we life in a life of unimaginable comfort to those ancient seers. The 'nature myth' is a pretty simplistic one, and juxtaposing beautiful mountain ranges and nuclear weapons is a process where the visual impact exceeds the depth of the idea: where these mountains not created by forces many times greater than our biggest nuclear devices? Kindly mother nature has demonstrated herself more than capable of extinguishing several eras of life on this planet. Her depiction as a terminal victim of human rapacious is quite wrong.
In this Koyaanisqatsi is definitely not timeless, and a product of that period between early post-hippy environmental awareness and emerging Reagan-era paranoia of Mutually Assured Destruction. Nowadays our fears are more prosaic - we expect a nuke in our backyard, not the sky filled with them; we're lamenting the loss of specific species, not fearing the entire sky is going to burn up.
Koyaanisqatsi is still beautiful and worth watching, but maybe the Indians got it wrong after all.
This is quite simply the most beautiful film I have ever seen, with the most amazing soundtrack I've ever heard. What other fillm with no dialogue could captivate some for nearly an hour and a half? Showed this to friends who are into typical 'lads' films, such as Pulp Fiction, The Terminator and so on. They had no idea what they were about to watch and when they discovered there was no plot or dialogue they were weary. By the end they were amazed!
What else is there to say about KOYAANISQATSI, that has not been
expounded on before. In the supplemental interviews on the DVD release
the director, Godfrey Reggio, laments about the meaning on the film for
what seems like hours. I'm glad that he is a thoughtful film-maker, who
has back-stopped his theory for the film with deep insight and
pseudo-religious thought. KOYAANISQATSI, when it was released, was a
groundbreaking film that challenged the minds of those who saw it.
Using the then fairly unproven technique of time-lapse photography, with no dialogue or narrative structure, the only voice in the production being the starkly minimalist score by Philip Glass, it changed the face of documentary art. It stands the test of time.
The film begins with a natural setting: clouds dancing in the wind, a crane shot of waterfalls, sun drenched landscapes. It then moves to the world of technology. The interesting aspect is that due to the structure of the film, Reggio simply presents the similarities and differences between the two worlds. The overpass at night, with the cascading headlights resembles the waterfall from earlier in the film.
There are many such examples of this, which serves to cement the theory that all this, nature and machine, exist in the same world. Static and dynamic. One does get the sense that Reggio has taken a more Liberal stance concerning conservation of the planet, but this is not heavy-handed or preaching. The final conclusions are left up to the viewer.
Is KOYAANISQATSI simply an intellectual meditation in style? a deeply moral presentation of the world in which we live? A cautionary fable of modern life? Is it all of these thing or none of them? That is the wonderful aspect of this film; one can simply let the awe inspiring images wash over them, nothing more, and the film has still succeeded in its purpose. If one were to chose to deconstruct KOYAANISQATSI, fragment by fragment, one could, but every individual perception would be different. The film has no answers, it simply is. More schools should show this film to their students; it not only generates varied viewpoints, but also offers a glimpse of American film making that transcends the likes of THE MATRIX ten fold, with its thought provoking images and originality. 9/10.
I can't add anything here that has not been said over the previous 70 comments. The simple fact that a film with no dialogue at all has so many people saying what a masterpiece it is 20 years after it's release speaks for its self. It's suitable for anyone who is willing to think about a film whilst watching it. Probably best avoided by action movie fans and people who voted for George W Bush.
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