Sunday, November 20, 2005

Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

Hypnotic visual essay about modern society's effect on nature and the world. One gets the feeling that director Godfrey Reggio isn't too hot on This Modern World -- the title, after all, does mean "life out of balance," and the progression of the footage from natural to man-made bespeaks of a certain disgust with the glass-and-steel encroachment of the big city. The great paradox, though, of this stance (and the thing that keeps this from feeling like a whiny New Age rant) is that Reggio expresses this not by simply contrasting "pretty" (i.e. nature) and "ugly" (i.e. civilization) but by finding the moments of incongruous beauty within the structure of the civilized world. Rather than show us two worlds at odds with each other, he shows us the places where the two worlds harmonize and intersect, thus critiquing the world by implicitly asking why we should have to search these moments out rather than them simply being everywhere. When these images are then synchronized with Phillip Glass's percussive and insistent score, the cumulative effect is one that's hard to shake. Hope the follow-up films are as interesting (I've heard they're more sour and disgruntled, but ya never know...).

Grade: A-


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home