Movie Information

Classic Cinema From Around the World will present Koyaanisqatsi at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Courtyard Gallery, 109 Roberts St., in the Phil Mechanic Studios building, River Arts District. Info: 273-3332.
Genre: Documentary
Director: Godfrey Reggio
Rated: NR

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.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “Koyaanisqatsi

  1. Barry Summers

    Really Ken? “Nature is beautiful and man ruins it.”? Nothing about the meaning of the title, or the fact that it is one of a trilogy?

    Anyway, fantastic movie. I bought the soundtrack not just because it’s great, but because it evokes the film for me. I have watched it over & over, and the sequel Powaqqatsi is even better.

  2. Ken Hanke

    You are perfectly free to watch it as many times as you like. Never suggested you oughtn’t. I clearly said it was a one viewing movie “for me.”

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