For Reel

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
January 3, 2017, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Godfrey Reggio
3.5 Stars
koyaanisqatsiThe apocalyptic conceit of Koyaanisqatsi is naïve at best. To despair that mankind has lost touch with nature and is now the servant of technology ignores a surplus of social constructs that are just as imprisoning—imagine telling a homeless person that everything would’ve been okay if society paid a little more mind to the beauty of the clouds. Director Godfrey Reggio has stated that the film pays heed to the “beauty of the beast”—that is, if Reggio decries a world in which technology is man’s master, he doesn’t seek to repudiate the amazing progress that scientists, engineers, and architects have contributed to the planet’s new landscape. There is a certain beauty in the images of highways and over-crowded city streets (of the geometric, Busby Berkeley variety), yet Reggio stops too often to indulge in the expressions of what appear to be unhappy, displaced persons. Has human progress led to nothing but despair? For its ideological confusion, however, Koyaanisqatsi is undeniably a project of rich complexity, a deceptively-structured marvel that is benefited by Philip Glass’ incomparable score. If cinematographer Ron Fricke’s more even-handed, comprehensible ventures in this genre (including Baraka and Samsara) come with fewer of the imposed ideological frustrations, Reggio’s mastery of pace (which doesn’t only consider the sequence, but more successfully considers how each sequence fits in the whole) does make this a worthwhile venture.

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