Qatsi Trilogy: Koyaanisqatsi
If you want to hear me sound like a real weirdo when trying to speak, take me to a dinner party where people bring up the Qatsi Trilogy by Godfrey Reggio and watch me attempt to pronounce each film.
I first saw Naqoyqatsi when an art house theater near my apartment was showing it in 2002. I wasn't sure what I was about to go see, all I knew was Philip Glass's name was involved, as was Yo-Yo Ma's, and typically for me those two are total no brainers. I can't think of anyone who doesn't like Philip Glass. I mean, everyone watched Sesame Street right? (one of the greatest things ever made)
The film really inspired me at the time. I wasn't making any motion related artwork and Naqoyqatsi seemed so wild and out there. As someone who makes films now, I know Naqoyqatsi was a lot of digitally manipulated stock footage... which is cool, I have nothing against that and have used those techniques in my own work - however, I'm glad that seeing this portion of the trilogy led me to seek out the first two films, which I now prefer.
Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi examine modern life in industrial countries and the conflict between encroaching industrialization and traditional ways of life. While both have similar themes they are quite different. For this post I'm going to select the first of the Qatsi Trilogy: Koyaanisqatsi, if not because its the first of the series, but also because the story behind how it came to be made is pretty bizarre:
"In 1972, Godfrey Reggio, of the Institute for Regional Education (IRE), was working on a media campaign in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The campaign involved invasions of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior. As opposed to making public service announcements, which Reggio felt "had no visibility," advertising spots were purchased for television, radio, newspapers, and billboards. Godfrey described the two year campaign as "extraordinarily successful," and as a result, Ritalin (methylphenidate) was eliminated as a behavior-modifying drug in many New Mexico school districts. But after the campaign ended, the ACLU eventually withdrew its sponsorship. The institute only had $40,000 left in their budget, and Reggio was unsure how to use the small amount of funds." So they were all, LETS MAKE A FILM!!!!! But seriously, " Fricke insisted to Reggio that the money could be used to produce a film, which led to the production of Koyaanisqatsi.""
You can watch the entire film Koyaanisqatsi free on Hulu HERE
It would take a very, very long time to go through and explain, describe each film so I would suggest you go to their wiki links here: Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of balance (1982) // Powaqqatsi: Life in transformation (1988) // Naqoyqatsi: Life as war (2002)