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The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (1982-2002)

Cast: Philip Glass, Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro, more...
Director: Godfrey Reggio, Godfrey Reggio
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Rating: Not Rated, ,
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Documentary, Political & Social Issues, Experimental/Avant-Garde, Criterion Collection
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, French
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The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 1 of 3): Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance (1982)
An art-house circuit sensation, this feature-length documentary is visually arresting and possesses a clear, pro-environmental political agenda. Without a story, dialogue, or characters, Koyaanisqatsi (1983) (the film's title is a Hopi word roughly translated into English as "life out of balance") is composed of nature imagery, manipulated in slow motion, double exposure or time lapse, juxtaposed with footage of humans' devastating environmental impact on the planet. Starting with an ancient rock wall painting, the film moves through sequences depicting clouds, waves, and other natural features, then into man-made landscapes such as buildings, earth-altering construction machinery, and cars. The message of director Godfrey Reggio is clear: humans are destroying the planet, and all of human progress is pointlessly foolish. Also notable for its intense, atmospheric score by new age composer Philip Glass, Koyaanisqatsi (1983) was a labor of love for Reggio, who spent several years filming it. The film was followed by sequels, Powaqqatsi (1988), Anima Mundi (1991) and Naqoyqatsi (1999). ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 2 of 3): Powaqqatsi (1988)
Powaqqatsi was the second of the feature-length "non narrative" films produced, directed and co-scripted by Godfrey Reggio. As in his earlier Koyaanisqatsi, Reggio utilizes a collage of sounds and gimmicked-up images to make a comment on modern life. And as in the earlier film, Reggio's onslaught of imagery is backed up by the music of Philip Glass. This time, Reggio concentrates on Third World cultures, and the way those cultures are perceived and sometimes exploited by the power merchants of the world. Powaqqatsi was supposed to be the second in a trilogy, but wasn't as eagerly embraced by viewers and critics as its popular predecessor. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 3 of 3): Naqoyqatsi (2002)
Filmmaker, philosopher and activist Godfrey Reggio completes the film trilogy he began with Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi in this visually striking examination of the impact of technology upon our culture. Naqoyqatsi is a word from the Hopi language which roughly translates as "war as a way of life" or "a life of killing each other," and in this film Reggio uses a intense barrage of images - most of which have been drawn from existing film footage and then altered using a variety of optical and digital techniques - to express his belief that technology is no longer at war with nature. Instead, we have allowed technology to become the "nature" in which we live, and as it stretches our physical and emotional environment in new and troubling directions, we have created for ourselves a world of greater chaos, violence, and confusion. As with his previous features in this trilogy, Naqoyqatsi features an original score by Philip Glass, featuring cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma; director Steven Soderbergh, a noted admirer of Reggio's first two films, served as executive producer. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Ratings

The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 1 of 3): Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance (1982)
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7.33 (327 votes)
The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 2 of 3): Powaqqatsi (1988)
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6.98 (92 votes)
The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 3 of 3): Naqoyqatsi (2002)
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6.51 (76 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Not as good as Koyaanisqatsi by tungwaiyip September 4, 2006 - 9:55 AM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Somehow watching slow motion of people around the world going about their business wasn't as inspiring as I expect. This film doesn't have the same kind of exhilaration as his first film Koyaanisqatsi or as Ron Fricke's Baraka.

The lesson begins here by bakedpotato December 22, 2004 - 5:53 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Sometimes you just need to get a different perspective on things. Resist the temptation to tune out and turn off if you are bored by a segment, the next one may just be the cinematic epiphany you've been waiting for. Not for the closed-minded or easily amused. - 5 Leaves

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