Saturday, October 27, 2012

706. KOYAANISQATSI (1983)


Running Time: 87 minutes
Directed By: Godfrey Reggio
Written By: Ron Fricke, Michael Hoenig, Godfrey Reggio, Alton Walpole
Click here to view the trailer

PERHAPS THE SCARIEST MOVIE OF THEM ALL

"A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."

For those of you who know my writing and are familiar with this film, you probably already have my rating pegged. It's a known fact that I don't like experimental films and that, when watching a movie, my tastes rely heavily on plot and less on the final message. However, maybe this was the mother of all experimental films and maybe my mind was changed with the watching of "Koyaanisqatsi".


The film is plot-less and is simply an arranging of images, edited together and sped up to create a terrifying message for it's viewers and to the world.  With "Koyaanisqatsi" it was the goal of director Godfrey Reggio to collaborate equally with his cinematographer (Ron Fricke) and his composer (Philip Glass) to create an equally balanced film and so that the images, music and direction would sync together in order to create maximum effectiveness. The film examines the ill effects of consumerism and condemns the destruction of nature and culture.


When I first started watching "Koyaanisqatsi" I really didn't know what to expect. As it got underway, I realized quick that this was an experimental film (one with a budget, but nonetheless an experimental film) and that the entire running time would consist of various images set to music. I hated it right off the bat. I kept running through what I'd write when I got here, how I'd bash it for being "pointless" and "a bore to sit through". Then, after a while, something happened and I began to become hypnotized by the images. I was no longer paying attention to the DVD timer and my eyes were affixed to the screen and I couldn't look away. Reggio's plan was working; the music and images were starting to lull me into their submission, much like the listless, zombie like people that Reggio filmed wandering in and out of airport terminals, subways, movie theaters, factories and big city streets. I believe that Reggio is a genius, because he had a message that he wanted to get out to the world and to do so, he created a film that would make consumers feel like they normally feel, listless, lazy and ready to buy into anything. He'd hypnotize his audience into hearing his message and maybe, just maybe, it would get through to a few people.


Now, I'm not necessarily in agreement with Reggio's message, but I applaud him for getting my attention. I didn't LOVE "Koyaanisqatsi" or anything, but I went from hating it to being able to tolerate it and finally, I think, understanding it. Give it a shot! You might detest it, but you might walk away with a new mindset, and even if that doesn't happen, I think you'll be mesmerized by what Reggio was able to bring to the screen. It's a very powerful film, just one that didn't really work for me. If you agree with Reggio's message, then the whole film can work like that one, two minute car crash scene in a regular film, where you sit back aghast and in amazement.

RATING: 4/10  Maybe, in time, with some more thought, I can learn to praise this film, but really all I did, for now, was find a way to tolerate it.

MOVIES WATCHED: 564
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 437

October 27, 2012  3:56pm

2 comments:

  1. I did wonder how you would get on with this.. you have been hitting a fair number of experimental lately.. (No, actually i think I'm reading the blog in the wrong direction..).
    Glad yu liked this.. i certainly did. You are right it SHOULD be boring.. the write ups make it sound so but it isn't
    .. I even showed this to a friend who is notable by her avoidance of films 'withut a good story'.. and she liked it.
    OK, I don't think I will be searching out hte box set with the other 2 films, and the directors cut with extra deleted bits, but I have watched it more than twice.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  2. I started out hating it and then, after a while, it all just sort of started to make sense. As if it hypnotized me into it's spell. Not a favorite or anything, but it was ok.

    ReplyDelete

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