Tag Archives: Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi ☕ d. Godfrey Reggio, 1982

There’s no proselytizing to be found in Koyaanisqatsi; what I half-expected going in was an eco-nut jeremiad about the evils of industrialized civilization.  What I experienced was something much more akin to Shklovsky’s defamiliarization effect: a sustained, artistic effort to re-align my perception of modern life, if only momentarily, in order to induce me to reflect critically on my place in it. In order to portray a “life out of balance,” filmmaker Godfrey Reggio and his collaborators needed to find a style that would shock the audience without losing it, and the result is a very tight montage of nature in continuity from what some might call “pristine” wilderness to the garbage-strewn streets of the urban metropolis.  What the film evoked for me was a sense of someone who wanted to show me something very important, something beautiful, something terrifying, but this person found he could not stand far enough back to take it all in.  Even with its flaws, the impact was sublime. Continue reading


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