03 February 2008


v7246769 Koyaanisqatsi is truly an extraordinary film. I just finished watching it again and found it to be moving and rather overwhelming. It's interesting because you're confronted with images of industrial society that you aren't usually accustomed to - images that (at least to me) make our civilization seem incredibly inhuman and life-denying. So throughout the film, my inner monologue was pretty much something like this: Is this really how we're living? Could it really be this bad? Why isn't anyone doing anything about it? How can human beings live like this? No wonder I feel like shit all the time! v7244648
"We usually perceive our world, our way of living, as beautiful because there is nothing else to perceive...There seems to be no ability to see beyond, to see that we have encased ourselves in an artificial environment that has remarkably replaced the original, nature itself. We do not live with nature any longer; we live above it, off of it as it were. Nature has become the resource to keep this artificial or new nature alive."

- from the film's official site.
v7232294 Growing up on a diet of bad Hollywood films thanks to bad local TV programming (and later on HBO Asia), I always wondered why more creative use wasn't made of the moving image. So many movies are really no more than filmed plays, and I began to search for films that would approach this ideal I had in my head of 'pure cinema' which was aware of painting and photography and was not simply theater adapted to the screen. Films that truly utilized the moving image in order to transmit direct experience to the viewer - after all film is a medium which closely resembles our human experience. And so I was led to this film.
In an incredibly lucid interview on the DVD, director Godfrey Reggio mentions that the whole point of the film is to present the viewer with an such an experience - doing away with the medium of language. He also mentions the importance of raising questions. With those two things in mind, I feel the film is really a huge success. Like I mentioned earlier, I was pretty overwhelmed by the sped-up images of factory production lines, freeways, heavy traffic and commuters all in rapid succession. v7242123 v7237216 v7233224
"Could it be that our language is no longer capable of describing the world in which we live? Perhaps, the world we see with old eyes and antique ideas is no longer present. Do we inhabit a technological universe the laws of which are unknown? The world we see is being left behind.

A new untellable world is unfolding. As the human race accelerates into the twenty-first century, we enter a virtual, digital environment, a world where far and near, past, present and future are simultaneous realities. The human center of gravity seems to be blasted into the void."

- from the film's official site
v7242674 v7246574 v7243538 What an exceedingly strange civilization it is that we are a part of.


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