Author Topic: Koyaanisqatsi  (Read 1739 times)

Koyaanisqatsi
« on: September 15, 2010, 03:14:42 AM »
Just watched this for the first time, and found it absolutely stunning.  Makes a nice change from last Tuesday, when I was almost completely unmoved by the visual and audio spectacle of Scott Pilgrim.  It's a beautiful, awesome, threatening piece of art, dripping with foreboding. 

The message becomes pretty clear early on, despite the complete lack of dialogue.  There are beautiful, serene images shown to a Phillip Glass soundtrack, which then shifts very violently in tone, as we start to see man's impact on the earth.  The shots of picturesque landscapes become obscured by pylons, machinery, and even hi-tech weaponry.  The arpeggio's can get a tad grating, but the soundtrack is generally really evocative throughout, with some lovely chanting.

Brilliant resolve too, towards the end.  Quite stunning.

One thing I really loved (apart from the clouds, which are always an obsession of mine) was the sped-up footage of the cars.  The time-lapse photography is brilliantly done, particularly when they work in what is an obviously very slow pan, but it also has the effect of making our rushing about, as a species, almost nonsensical.  Just this panicked dashing, which looks like it has no meaning, no direction.  Yet we know it does, of course, and this is underlined by the routine pauses caused by traffic lights.

Stunning.  Have to get round to watching Baraka tomorrow.

Chutney

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 08:28:13 AM »
Not much to add to the critique - although I concur - but as far as the soundtrack goes, whilst I agree that it's entirely effective in the film, I hunted it our on Grooveshark a few weeks back and ended up having to turn the thing off after about 15 minutes.  Incredibly aggravating without the images, or at least useless as background music, and I can work to pretty much anything...

Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 08:37:52 AM »
It is brilliant, and not really equalled by any of its sequels or Baraka, I'd say. The Glass soundtrack was reused in the Watchmen movie, annoyingly.

ThickAndCreamy

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 08:43:00 AM »
I watched this a few months back and also really enjoyed it. The trouble is for me that quite frankly the images of cities, industry and humans in general did become a bit tiresome after a while. This is more of a personal problem though as I generally find it difficult to find sublimity within the context of them, much harder than say the natural world. I also know it wasn't trying to conjure up such thoughts constantly but even then I found it a touch dull even though I could recognise just how spectacular the recordings are.

Still, the first ten minutes are utterly incredible, I could watch a video like that endlessly. It's just spectacularly beautiful.

mobias

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 09:04:46 AM »
I watched this a few months back and also really enjoyed it. The trouble is for me that quite frankly the images of cities, industry and humans in general did become a bit tiresome after a while. This is more of a personal problem though as I generally find it difficult to find sublimity within the context of them, much harder than say the natural world. I also know it wasn't trying to conjure up such thoughts constantly but even then I found it a touch dull even though I could recognise just how spectacular the recordings are.

Still, the first ten minutes are utterly incredible, I could watch a video like that endlessly. It's just spectacularly beautiful.

Have you seen Baraka? Its a bit more easy going than Koyaanisqatsi, its quite a bit shorter as well I think.

On a separate note the sequel to Baraka has been filmed and is in post production due for release next year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsara_(2010_film) 

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 09:26:28 AM »
I too agree that this is a rather awesome experience of a film. I've only seen Koyaanisqatsi, and given that it's merely the first film of a trilogy, I should really pull my finger out and get round to seeing Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. The Philip Glass soundtrack was what intrigued me into seeing the film, and I'm glad it did.[nb]For further Philip Glass goodness, see The Truman Show soundtrack. Lovely stuff.[/nb]

Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 10:15:17 AM »
What's the message? I don't think it's a pro-nature, anti-industrial thing. It was ambiguous enough that with my infrastructure-porn loving prejudices, I thought 'fuck yeah humans are awesome'. The sequel's a bit of a downer from that perspective.

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 01:33:33 PM »
I wouldn't want to watch it without being on drugs, and the speeded-up people got a bit boring after a while, but it's certainly an experience.

Serge

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 02:21:56 PM »
I remember my brother and I being obsessed with this film when we were kids, though I suspect the message would have been lost on us then, and we just liked all the bits of speeded up cars, etc. I bought the box-set version which comes with 'Powaqqatsi' a few years ago, though for some reason I've still not got around to watching the latter. But I was still impressed with the original, and was surprised at how much of it had stayed in my mind. I love the bit towards the end with the close ups of people on city streets - there's one shot in particular of an old guy who turns and looks at the camera that has an almost unbearable sadness about it.

Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2010, 02:49:01 PM »
I too was also obsessed with this film as a child. I'd always put it on the VHS when I was at home alone, off school ill or over the summer holidays. It was part of my 'ill film trinity' of Koyaanisqatsi, The Legend Of Boggy Creek and The Fantastic Voyage.

Serge

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2010, 02:55:40 PM »
I know where you're coming from, although the only other film I can remember watching to death when I was a kid was, er, 'The Cannonball Run'.


Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2010, 02:58:18 PM »
Yup, one I think is great.
I know where you're coming from, although the only other film I can remember watching to death when I was a kid was, er, 'The Cannonball Run'.
And perhaps, to a lesser extent, The Cannonball Run II?

Serge

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2010, 05:04:43 PM »
Nah, II is shit! Even adding Ol' Blue Eyes into the mix couldn't save that one.

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2010, 05:19:34 PM »
I've never made it all the way through either Koyannisqatsi or Baraka. I find the 20-30 minute chunks I watch incredibly powerful and I almost feel like an odd combination of being bored and overdosing. I know I'm missing out on the film as a whole but my attention span just doesn't match these films. I should probably try to watch them in a cinema so I don't have the option of pausing and making a sandwich.

Crabwalk

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 02:50:35 PM »
I can see why Baraka wouldn't really be diminished by being viewed in 20 minute chunks, as it has a very episodic, traveloguey structure. But do try and watch Koyaanisqatsi in one sitting if you can.

It really is like nothing else. The way that the Glass score ebbs and flows with the visuals and the themes is spellbinding, and the final few sequences [spoiler]with the exploding rocket[/spoiler] are especially emotional if you've sat through the whole film to get there. It's incredible that a film can speak so powerfully about who we are as a species, yet have no dialogue or narration.

I believe that Glass and Reggio were collaborating right through the shooting process and the film came together over several years, and the work really is up there on screen and in the speakers.


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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2010, 06:36:13 PM »
One of my fave soundtracks ever, and a visually stunning movie. Haven't seen the two follow-up films.

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2010, 07:17:19 PM »
I love this film. I saw it for the first time at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool and people (myself included) were applauding the screen at the end - the only other time I've witnessed this was at 'Stop Making Sense' & oddly enough 'Titanic'. The director wisely chose to work closely with Philip Glass and the matching of music and image is visual poetry... I think Powaqqatsi is pretty great as sequels go... The novelty value of 'Koy' has gone, but the concept is different. There are lots more close ups of faces - but avoids the travelogue cliche of cute third world people with big eyes smiling. There is a great deal of compassion as well as long shot observations of life out of balance... There are some truly disturbing images (the strip mining) as well as memorably quirky ones such as the roadside genital washing. New Cities in Ancient Lands (Africa) from Powaqqatsi is one of my favourite Glass pieces with rhythm and melody wrapping around each other - galloping along like a equatorial take on the William Tell Overture.

Play this one LOUD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq07uMzOPEA

Naqoyqatsi is a load of old toss... Using computer editing & digital trickery it adds absolutely nothing to the other films & has a new-age, faintly smug vibe that Koy and Pow successfully avoid.

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2010, 05:48:40 AM »
Just watched this and rather liked it, the visual analogy of cities and circuit boards, the relentless flow of humanity brought to mind blood vessels it's like a microscope but a level up (macroscope perhaps?). Will be having a goosey at the sequels tomorrow I think.

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Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2010, 11:26:57 PM »
Naqoyqatsi is a load of old toss... Using computer editing & digital trickery it adds absolutely nothing to the other films & has a new-age, faintly smug vibe that Koy and Pow successfully avoid.
It's utter rubbish isn't it? For what is mainly meant to be about new technologies and the future it's by far the most dated feeling of the trilogy. Koyaanisqatsi on the other hand is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) films I've ever seen - I respond with so much emotion every time I see it that I always fail to be able to justify my love for it in words. Just like I'm doing this time too.

Re: Koyaanisqatsi
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2010, 01:05:25 AM »
Just found this via a recently watched Itchy and Scratchy parody.