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Naqoyqatsi (2002)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 3,893 users   Metascore: 59/100
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A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.



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Credited cast:
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)
Business Man
Atomic Adam
Man reflected in digital screens (3rd segment)


In this cinematic concert, mesmerizing images are plucked from everyday reality, then visually altered with state-of-the-art digital techniques. The result is a chronicle of the shift from a world organized by the principles of nature to one dominated by technology, the synthetic and the virtual. Extremes of intimacy and spectacle, tragedy and hope fuse in a tidal wave of visuals and music, giving rise to a unique, artistic experience that reflects the vision of a brave new globalized world. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


America is test-driving the future. See more »


Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violent and disturbing images, and for brief nudity | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 January 2003 (Czech Republic)  »

Also Known As:

Naqoyqatsi: Life as War  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,154 (USA) (18 October 2002)


$132,026 (USA) (22 November 2002)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The word "Naqoyqatsi" is a noun from the Hopi language literally meaning "each other-kill many-life", as stated in the film's end roll. See more »

Crazy Credits

Studio Feng Shui ... Marti Lovell See more »


Follows Powaqqatsi (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

eMpTy V
22 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a failure so complete as to make me angry.

All of the subtlety and structure of Reggio's early films is gone, leaving nothing but a hash of digitally smeared images whose sole purpose seems to be Whining About Bad Things Humans Do. Just how do Star Trek-like wormhole graphics, slo-mo colorized seascapes, mutiplicities of obviously fake computer icons, and shots of athletic competition that, incidentally, show that no one has ever been able to top (or even match) Leni Riefenstahl for filming bodies in motion, edited together with an overlay of video colorization that a 1980s "Dr. Who" producer would have rejected as "too cheesy," add up to a polemic against "civilized violence"? There is no intellectual, emotional, or visceral connection between these images as assembled and mutated by Reggio and way too many digital effects artistes, and the cautionary tale I assume he wanted to produce. With all of the "dramaturgical consultants" involved, no one seems to have pulled his head out the his own feeling of Saying Something Important and considered that they might all be failing to say something new.

Only people who watch too much television could make such a film and believe that it's meaningful; this is kindergarten Stan Brakhage, and ultimately gutless in its relentless obviousness. The only irony and tension evident here (unlike in "Koyaanisqatsi" where the relentless beauty and strangeness of time-altered ordinary images forced you to consider their meaning) was when the DVD I was watching jammed and skipped. This is MTV for the Noam Chomsky crowd, based on reflex rather than reflection and signifying nothing. Two stars for the music, which is in Glass's best pomo-Cesar Franck style and features some passionate cello from Yo-Yo Ma. (I hope for his sake that he didn't have to record his parts to a playback of the film; there are some things you shouldn't have to do even for a paycheck.)

36 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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