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

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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Life in Transformation

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 September 1988 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Northsouth: Life on the Edge  »

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Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$589,244 (USA)
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening images are of the Serra Pelada goldmines in Brazil. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best creative unions between a visionary director and a brilliant composer ever
27 August 2008 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Last week, I watched for the firs time Qatsi trilogy, which includes the films Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqatsi. All of the film titles are taken from the Hopi language; Koyaanisquatsi meaning "life out of balance," Powaqqatsi - "life in transformation," and Naqoyqatsi

  • "life as war".




The films were made by Godfrey Reggio and the music score which plays as important role as the images do, was written by Philipp Glass.

The films have no spoken dialog or plot and have to be experienced viscerally first, and then analyzed because everyone sees different in them. For some viewers - they are glorified long music videos, for the others - the revelation that may change the way we perceive ourselves as human kind and our place on Earth.

As for me, personally, I realized that the collaboration between Reggio and Glass may be one of the best creative unions between a visionary director and a brilliant composer ever.

Of three Qatsi movies, my favorite is certainly, Powaqqatsi, and I know I'll come back to it many times more until my last day because it is not just a gorgeous movie with amazing images; it is one of very precious experiences that happen rarely in life. What made this experience possible is above all and without doubt the MUSIC. It was not the first music by Philip Glass I heard. I like his minimalistic and somehow disturbing scores that go right to your senses for "The Hours", "Notes of the Scandal", and "The Illusionist" (2006). Powaqqatsi was the second movie in Reggio's "Qatsi" trilogy for me. Just before it, I saw "Koyaanisqatsi" (1982) or Life out of Balance", the first of three Reggio-Glass movies. I like "Koyaanisqatsi" very much but I think it is the images that make it so memorable. "Powaqqatsi" for me, is about Glass's magnificent, un-earthy, divine and literally uplifting and transcending score. It is the music that could've been played after God had finished his work of creation and looked down at Earth and saw that it was good. I am a music lover, and I love music of different genres, epochs, and cultures. I enjoy listening to Mozart and Beatles, Nino Rota and Metallica, Zamphir and Scott Joplin, Bob Dylan and Lucianno Pavarotti, Bach and Edith Piaf. I love them all but I don't recall ever being so moved and taken out of this reality, feeling happy and overwhelmed, proud to be able to witness and enjoy the incredible achievement of human creativity and genius as when I was watching and listening to three "Anthems" and "Mosque and Temple" scenes of "Powwaqatsi: Life in Transformation". I don't buy the DVDs very often, I am not a collector but when the movie leaves unforgettable impression, when it brings something amazing into my life, I have to have it. I already ordered and received both, "Koyaanisqatsi" and "Powwaqatsi" on DVDs and I keep rewatching my favorite scenes and the music has the same impact at me making tears of joy coming to my eyes every time I hear the majestic hypnotic triumphant sounds of music written by Phillip Glass.

I would like to add the words of one of my favorite writers. They match perfectly the feelings and emotions the film has evoked in me:

"Mother Earth. She lived, this world of trees and rivers and rocks with deep stone thoughts. She breathed, had feelings, dreamed dreams, gave birth, laughed, and grew contemplative for millennia. This great creature swimming in the sea of space. What a wonder thought the man, for he had never understood that the Earth was his mother, before this. He had never understood, before this that the Earth had a life of its own, at once part of mankind and quite separated from mankind, another with a life of her own." Harlan Ellison "The Deathbird"


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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