Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (1982) created quite a fuss at the time of its release, with its sped-up images (later co-opted by probably 80 percent of all indie films) and its mesmerizing Philip Glass score. It was a must-see—and if you’ve never seen it, it still is. It is not, for me anyway, much in the way of a repeat-viewing movie. It’s a one-message movie: Nature is beautiful and man ruins it. That’s fine, I suppose, but the fact that it’s 28 years later and there’s yet to be a mad rush to go live in mud huts and earn a precarious livelihood in the woods, makes me question if it can actually be said to have had the impact it intended. I suppose that’s not very respectful for such a well-meaning movie, but it seems to me an inescapable conclusion. However, as an unusual piece of filmmaking, as a thing of almost abstract beauty, it remains a successful experiment.
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