8.3/10
31,506
195 user 87 critic

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 24 August 1983 (France)
A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director:

Godfrey Reggio
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Powaqqatsi (1988)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Stars: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II
Naqoyqatsi (2002)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Stars: Belladonna, Marlon Brando, Elton John
Baraka (1992)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke
Samsara I (2011)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Director: Ron Fricke
Stars: Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi
Chronos (1985)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.

Director: Ron Fricke
Anima Mundi (1991)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Visitors (2013)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Director Godfrey Reggio reveals humanity's trance-like relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov
Stars: Mikhail Kaufman
Edit

Cast

Uncredited cast:
Lou Dobbs ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Ted Koppel ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Edit

Storyline

This experimental film looks at the world and more specifically the effect man has had on the landscape and the environment. Without narration, the film shows the world in a pristine condition and untouched: blue skies, beautiful landscapes and endless vistas. The man-made world is much less appealing. Essentially a montage using a variety of film techniques to provide a visually stunning montage of images. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Until now, you've never really seen the world you live in. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Qatsi Trilogy site

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

24 August 1983 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,723,872
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cuts abruptly to a helicopter shot looking down at skyscrapers, then to night-time satellite images of a city, then to computer components. In fact this is pre-integrated circuit and pre-microcomputer technology, probably from an IBM mainframe or DEC PDP minicomputer. One element of older computer technology that can be clearly seen are twin panels of ferrite core memory, a couple of inches square, probably containing no more than 8k bytes of memory each. 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

title card: ko-yaa-nis-qatsi
[from the Hopi language]
title card: n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life out of balance. 4. life disintegrating. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Utterly, completely, blown away
30 March 2005 | by IMDb-6105See all my reviews

I first went to see this film almost by accident. Some friends were going, & it happened that Philip Glass was due to be in the cinema for an after-screening interview. I wasn't a huge fan of Philip Glass, I'd never heard of Koyaanisqatsi or Godfrey Reggio: but what the hell, I went along, expecting some sort of nicely-filmed but vaguely-boring worthy documentary.

An hour & a half later, I was - and I'm having to try very hard to find adjectives here - in fact I'm failing. It was The-Thing-That-You-Can't-Even-Tell-Someone-What-It-Is. Completely transfixed, transported, for 90 minutes of my life.

This film has no dialogue. It has no actors, apart from everyone & everything that Ron Fricke's camera touches. It has no plot, apart from just the simple, complex, unfolding story of the world.

The truth is, of all the films that people feel have really made an impact on their lives - and you only need to read through this lengthy thread to see how many of those people there are - this is one of the hardest to communicate to someone who hasn't actually seen it. You can compare it, perhaps, to things they might have seen - but there aren't that many to compare to. It has a kind of poetry on a whole different level from, for example, Man with a Movie Camera. The only things that spring to mind for me are Orphee or Last Year at Marienbad, but these are completely different kinds of movie, and even people who don't like them might be totally taken apart by Koyaanisqatsi.

Sure you could - rightly - use phrases like "breathtaking cinematography" or "unforgettable images". You could praise the music (which really opened my ears to Philip Glass). You could point out, as many have done, how the film made you look again at the world, & at your own place in it. Or you could try to relay its "environmental" message - and there are people, especially those who take any implied criticism of our species' waste and cruelty as a kind of personal insult, who will not like that message.

But none of these things would come close to capturing what makes this film so special. Like trying to explain "red" to someone who's never seen colours. You have to experience it. If possible in a cinema, sitting right down at the front, completely immersed in the screen and its images.

I know I'll never forget the first time I saw it. You might not either.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 195 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed