Tuesday, May 22, 2007


This word is so hard to pronounce...one might wonder if it is the name of an impossibly complex, difficult to understand scientific phenomenon; or maybe something about measuring current disintegration rate of a decadent star from the Andromeda galaxy which was first hit about 210 million years ago.

But the truth is that it is a word that describes the most abundantly found but largely ignored social phenomenon. Koyaanisquatsi means 'Life out of balance" in Hopi language.

I was introduced to the brilliant imagery that this word could realise when I saw a movie by the same name last week. For about an hour and a half, the spellbinding usage of stop motion photography, undercranking and over cranking of film combines to produce a graphic vision of the chaotic struggle between man and nature. The movie images are choreographed to a beautiful score orchestrated by Peter Glass and took Geoffrey Reggio about 7 years to make. But the end result is so worth it. Absolutely no words, no characters. Total documentary concept with a personality of a movie. Breathtaking in its scope and stunning in its realisation, this is one movie that has to be watched to understand the true language of cinema - that of powerful and symbolic imagery; and also to realise how we are moving towards a hopeless, completely off-balance, unharminous future both within our society and with the nature as we encroach upon the beautiful wilderness with our concrete jungles.

Next on the list are the other 2 from the Qatsi trilogy:
1. Powaqqatsi (Life in Transformation)
2. Naqoyquatsi (Life as war)

Cinema is truly uplifting and awakening at times....