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I know you guys are going to kill me for this, but I have to make mention on this site of Koyaanisqatsi (1983). In my opinion this is the height of music video, where music and film become one with the viewer. If you haven't seen it, see it immediately. More after the jump.. (Trailer)

Full movie on Vimeo

kevathens, November 10, 2005 at 4:43:43 AM CET

Okay, I know most of you have already seen this film. That said, let me babble.

To me this film - directed by Godfrey Reggio, photographed by Ron Fricke, music by Philip Glass - is one of the most important films of our age, not to mention the best music video I've ever seen, if you wish to call it that.

Reggio and Fricke have still not been topped (including by themselves) in producing a filmed document that reflects our (Western technological) era, even 22 years later.

While I'm not an expert in film, I don't know many music videos or films who use music and image so adroitly. Literally while watching this Philip Glass' meditative pieces meld the images into your brain.

Finally, music video leaves a very real gap when it comes to speaking about broader cultural topics, almost by definition. I find it a damn shame.

As our society grows increasingly complex and efficient, are we less able to control what's happening to us? Anyone care to disagree?

N.B. This is the first part of the Qatsi trilogy, with Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. Fricke later filmed the awesome Baraka, as Hakai is about to mention...

hakai, November 10, 2005 at 4:48:23 AM CET

Ive seen one of these films... i forgot which one...but it was an awesome music video...and an awesome film...reminded me of baraca.

diogenes, November 10, 2005 at 7:05:25 AM CET

Yeah, that Native American-named trilogy has to be the best Phillip Glass music video ever made. Which maybe isn't saying much. That said, they are exquisitely beautiful (tho, gotta admit, Baraka is best, and -- nerd alert -- the panning/dollying time-lapse rig used in Baraka was invented & engineered by Fricke).

Have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find Koyaanisqatsi posted here; then again, which long-form films, if any, are the competition? I mean, other than Kubrick's Odyssey... and a pinch o' Zardoz...

jdub, November 10, 2005 at 8:07:50 AM CET

Hey I just wanted to throw a shout to you guys for posting such great stuff on this site lately. I'm being absolutely serious. the big list of one take videos, the amazing bouncing balls ad, and works like Koyaanisqatsi. I mean...I love a good music video...but these ideas are amazing. It's powerful to step outside of "music videos" and get to the core of what we love about them - good filmmaking and great ideas. Koyaanisqatsi is an amazing merge of music and image. it makes me happy that somebody would even attack a project as abstract as Godfrey Reggio did here. Not too mention it turned out awesome.

progosk, November 10, 2005 at 9:15:59 AM CET

reggio and glass also did anima mundi. not as mindblowing as the hopi trilogy, though.

ballando ballando (aka le bal) comes to mind as a movie with no dialogue, and where the music is key, but the music varies (through the historical periods it portrays), so it's not really like a music video at all.

long-form films that are essentially elongated music videos... perhaps quadrophenia? tommy? yellow submarine?

rotundus, November 10, 2005 at 9:29:55 AM CET

Theres a new one coming out... done by the same dudes. Cant rember wats its called... its on the tip of my tongue!

progosk, November 10, 2005 at 9:52:30 AM CET

savage eden, it seems. this site also mentions fricke's chronos and mairéid sullivan and ben kettlewell's time after time.

jva, November 10, 2005 at 10:07:09 AM CET

I loved Koyaanisqatsi but sadly have not seen Powaq- and Naqoy-. This post reminds me that it's about time to remedy that.

I have to say, though, that I disliked Baraka the one time I saw it. Beautifully shot, but the juxtaposition of images felt editorially heavy-handed: serene nature and indigenous peoples vs. industrial degradation and western decadence. Not that this commentary is necessarily off-base. It just seemed too transparent.

K.sqatsi, while ultimately arriving at a similar conclusion, pays visual respect to the awesome complexity of the world we've created, the microchip surfaces, the networks of traffic, etc. To me it honestly acknowledges the accomplishments and appeals of modern society, which makes its indictments all the more damning and powerful, down to the last bone-chilling shot of the flaming rocket hull falling eternally to earth . . .

progosk, November 10, 2005 at 10:47:43 AM CET

yeah, that last shot... the scenes of the bodies falling from the wtc were a terrifying reembodiment of that - i had the spiralling melody autorepeating in my head as i saw them.

very prescient films, those. naqoyqatsi (2002) was subtitled: life as war...

reminds me of another very powerful film in this vein: werner herzog's lessons of darkness (1992); devastating visual poetry from aboard a helicopter surveying post-war kuwaiti oilfields, set to mahler, wagner and verdi.

irritant, November 10, 2005 at 12:32:43 PM CET

An amazing film. I originally seen it 20 years ago and still love it.

scalovik, November 10, 2005 at 12:48:23 PM CET

do you have some link where is it possible to check it out the trailer...??

<<< >>>

kevathens, November 10, 2005 at 12:50:31 PM CET

Savage Eden has its own site now. Some really bizarre stuff in it too, looks like some very original ideas. Donations too.

Just put the Kqatsi trailer on top, Scalovik.

homie, November 10, 2005 at 3:54:59 PM CET

if we are speaking of interesting movies, you should check out "water and power" by pat o'neill. it's one of the best experimental movies i've ever seen, i also had the pleasure to see the original 35mm copy. believe me, it's fantastic, if you have the chance, go check it out. here's a link with a description of the movie

jva, November 10, 2005 at 10:11:08 PM CET

oh, if the call for full-length films as extended music videos is open to promotion of self as well as veneration of elders, i can say that The Getty Address by Dirty Projectors falls in that category. or it will. when i finish . . . of whch another chapter will be posted tout suite.

kevathens, November 11, 2005 at 1:41:19 AM CET

This new Wired commentary by Tony Long gets to the point on what (technology + economics) is causing some of us to do to parts of our lives.

"Look around. Our collective humanity is dying a little more every day. Technology is killing life on the street -- the public commons, if you please."

I'm not as absolutist as he, but it is a good point.

On that note.. REVOLUTION!!! ACTION!!! ;)

jva, November 11, 2005 at 9:41:24 PM CET

late in the day, perhaps, but we can add DECASIA to the list. K'sqatsi indicts our future but Decasia's past indicts us...

kevathens, April 6, 2016 at 9:02:05 PM CEST

This film is too slow. #omg


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