With filmmaker Godfrey Reggio
Director: Godfrey Reggio
Screenwriters: Michael Hoenig, Rob Fricke, Godfrey Reggio and
Cinematographer: Ron Fricke
Editors: Ron Fricke and Alton Walpole
Composer: Philip Glass
Running Time: 86 minutes
Almost 30 years ago, Koyaanisqatsi blew audience’s minds with its spectacular concert of visually arresting cinematography and pulsing, hypnotic music. Critic Leonard Maltin called it a “spellbinding [film] so rich in beauty and detail that with each viewing it becomes a new and different film.” The photography was by Ron Fricke, the music by Philip Glass, and the conductor was Godfrey Reggio, who will present a beautiful new 35mm print of Koyaanisqatsi on the big screen of the MFAH Brown Auditorium. He will also present an advance look at a clip from his upcoming collaboration with Philip Glass, titled The Holy See.
Reggio’s first feature opens on ancient Native American cave drawings, while the soundtrack chants “Koyaanisqatsi,” meaning “Life out of balance” in the Hopi Indian language. Cinematographer Ron Fricke utilizes the full expressive range of 35mm film, including time-lapse and slow-motion photography, to make comparisons among different types of physical motion. In one of the first examples seen in the film, cloud formations sped up by time-lapse are intercut with a slow-motion montage of ocean waves, manifesting their rhyming motions.
This technique of comparison exists throughout the film, and through it we learn more about the world around us. The film progresses from purely natural environments to nature as affected by man, and finally to man’s self-made environment, devoid of nature, rife with chaos and disarray, yet still following the patterns of natural flow.
Through stunning juxtapositions and evocative imagery, the film delivers its meditation and message. It is Koyaanisqatsi: life in turmoil and disintegration, and in a state that calls for another way of living.