Michael von Aichberger - Homepage Michael von Aichberger - Site map
Koyaanisqatsi - A Life Out Of Balance
1983 - Director: Godfrey Reggio

Andy Warhol once made a movie with the title "Sleep",
that lasted 5 hours and the only thing that was shown was
a sleeping (naked) man (Andy's Lover by the way).
The movie was launched in 1963, gave the people plenty to talk about for a while
(which is exactly what artists want)
and has never been seen again since 1972.

Then, in 1982, Godfrey Reggio came up with "Koyaanisqatsi".
This movie lasted 86 minutes, containing neither dialogs nor a real plot.

Again narcissistic bullshit?

No way!
Koyaanisqatsi is a work of art in a positive sense.
Koyaanisqatsi comes from the language of the HOPI Indians and means:
"Life out of balance"
The movie is a collage of breathtaking pictures of nature and the human civilization,
with a certain apocalyptic mood.


Clouds, that pass the Grand Canyon in quick motion.

still from Koyaanisqatsi - Grand Canyon

Storm clouds brewing over New York.
Time-lapse of Manhattan at day and at night.

still from  Koyaanisqatsi - Manhatten bei Nacht

Time-lapse of floods of people, moving on electric stairways and at supermarket counters.
Supertele shot of a jumbo jet turning on the runway.

The first scene of the movie is the start of an Apollo rocket.
The strong telephoto lens follows the rocket on and on ...

At the end of the movie we return to this scene -
The rocket explodes and the parts are falling back, staggering back, spinning back to earth.

Philip Glass provides the background music.
Without the pictures you could hardly stand 86 minutes of it,
but this way it makes the movie a psychedelic experience.

Godfrey Reggio: "Koyaanisqatsi is not so much about something"

As I said, the movie doesn't have a discernible plot. No clear message. No sense in itself.
The sense of the movie is what the audience makes of it in their minds.

A real work of art. Food for thought.

Everything that mankind makes of this world, on this world,
can be considered in a positive or a negative way: The thousands of lights of Manhattan at night                  could be proof of the incredible achievements of human intelligence.
Just as well it could be proof of the seizure of nature by mankind.

Whatever you want to see, you just have to keep your eyes open.

This movie opens them.



Official site: www.koyaanisqatsi.com
Internet movie data base: www.imdb.com/Title?0085809 (rating: 7.5/10)

Pictures by courtesy of www.koyaanisqatsi.com