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2,922 Ratings


Directed by Godfrey Reggio
United States, 1982
Documentary, Avant-Garde


A visually poetic mediation on the toll that modern technology is having on humans and the earth. A wordless survey on the significant changes occuring over the natural environment of the Northern Hemisphere. Accompanied by a haunting score from Philip Glass.

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Koyaanisqatsi Directed by Godfrey Reggio

Critics reviews

This wordless essay film converts handwringing social commentary into poetry, combing sights from around the world to celebrate the dizzying complexity of the planet and how we fit into its jigsaw design. Though future variations on the same theme would fatally expose the limits of its moral judgment of pure nature and debased technological growth, the original remains a kaleidoscopic marvel.
January 27, 2016
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Reggio’s outrages are captured with an inviting, palpable rapture that few artists indisputably in the pocket of modern advancement could match, thus lending the film an element of ambiguity, and even optimism, that’s at least partially intentional (Reggio said he wanted to show “the beauty of the beast”). Koyaanisqatsi is enraged with modern societal convention, but still expresses awe of the spontaneous, incidental poetry that can exist despite invisible oppression.
December 13, 2012
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Having created a sense of the grandeur and dignity of the Southwest, Koyaanisqatsi then reveals industrial exploitation of the environment, shifting into highly kinetic time-lapse photography of urban scenes. These sequences demonstrate the remarkable degree to which the modern city-machine functions effectively but ultimately, Reggio’s visual phantasmagoria suggests that the primary product of modern industrialized life is the destruction of individuality and serenity.
December 11, 2012
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