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Koyaanisqatsi (Widescreen) [Import]
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Prepare to experience a truly remarkable filma cinematic masterpiece so extraordinary that it regales the senses, stimulates the mind and actually 'redefines the potential of filmmaking (The Hollywood Reporter). Celebrated director Godfrey Reggio, innovative cinematographer Ron Fricke and Golden Globe-winning* composer Philip Glass have created a 'spellbinding [film] so rich in beauty and detail that with each viewing it becomes a new and different film (Leonard Maltin). Unique profound mesmerizing and thought-provoking (Boxoffice), Koyaanisqatsi contrasts the tranquil beauty of nature with the frenzied hum of contemporary urban society. Uniting breathtaking imagery with a hauntingly evocative, award-winning score, it is original and fascinating (People) one of the greatest films of all time (Uncut). *1998: Score (with Burkhard Dallwitz), The Truman Show
First-time filmmaker Godfrey Reggio's experimental documentary from 1983--shot mostly in the desert Southwest and New York City on a tiny budget with no script, then attracting the support of Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas and enlisting the indispensable musical contribution of Philip Glass--delighted college students on the midnight circuit and fans of minimalism for many years. Meanwhile, its techniques, merging cinematographer Ron Fricke's time-lapse shots (alternately peripatetic and hyperspeed) with Glass's reiterative music (from the meditative to the orgiastic)--as well as its ecology-minded imagery--crept into the consciousness of popular culture. The influence of Koyaanisqatsi, or "life out of balance," has by now become unmistakable in television advertisements, music videos, and, of course, in similar movies such as Fricke's own Chronos and Craig McCourry's Apogee. Reggio shot a sequel, Powaqqatsi (1988), and is planning to complete the trilogy with Naqoyqatsi. Koyaanisqatsi provides the uninitiated the chance to see where it all started--along with an intense audiovisual rush. --Robert Burns Neveldine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you have never seen this film, I suppose the way it is framed in this version might not really bother you, but if you actually CARE to see the film as was originally presented, THIS ISN'T IT!
I am not sure exactly HOW they managed to frame this transfer so poorly, but if ineptitude is a virtue, these folks go to the head of the class.
I won't get into the techical terms of aspect ratio, framing, and the like, but suffice it to say, this release LACKS a good amount of the original image. The image on the screen might be presented in the original apsect, but the framing of that aspect was done in such a way as to "zoom" too far in, thus erradicating, in my estimation, approx. 15-20% of the original image. In a film like Koyaanisqatsi, where the artist's framing of the image is so critical, changing the original image by framing it this way is unforgivable...well...maybe merely a waste of time and money.
The frustrating thing for me was that the "full screen" vhs release actually gives the viewer a closer approximation of the original!
I won't go on and on about it, but like I said before; If you want the original, you're going to have to wait. I suppose there is a laser disc version out there that is framed properly, but that's not really much help!
Save your dough!
While I recognize that the production was ahead of its time in 1982, and elements have been imitated over and over again --with very good results-- by many other filmmakers, I cannot in good conscience recommend this film.
When my wife and I sat down to watch it, we honestly didn't know what to expect. I had *heard* of the film, but didn't know what it was about. With apologies to Seinfeld, it is basically about nothing. Yes, it starts out with dramatic footage of beautiful scenery overlayed with some haunting music (Native Americans chanting "Koyaanisqatsi" over and over again), but my FIRST comment to my wife was: "This looks like file footage."
In my attempt to watch the movie without knowing anything about it first, I hadn't realized that it was 22 years old. It looked like file footage because it WAS essentially file footage. More to the point, the cinematography looks dated.
As the film continues, the beautiful natural scenery is supplemented by scenes that have been dramatically sped up, or dramatically slowed down... images of human activity are generally shown sped up. While some of these scenes were effective in conveying the idea of "Life Out of Balance" (which is what "Koyaanisqatsi" means), I thought that most of them were way too drawn out.
As for the soundtrack, unlike most people I absolutely love ambient electronic music. Most of the time. But not in this film.
Finally, I'll just say that my negative opinion of this film has nothing to do with a general dislike of 'artsy' films. I thought "Winged Migration" was wonderful. "Whale Rider" was fabulous. "Rabbit-Proof Fence" was incredible.
I just thought "Koyaanisqatsi" was painful.
Next, the bad news: The film image has been CROPPED! "Enhanced", if you will, for widescreen TVs. The disc's case says, "16:9 WIDESCREEN 1.85:1 -- Theatrical release format." Bull ! I've seen Koyaanisqatsi in the theater and was immediately struck by the fact it was being projected in the standard 4:3 (1.33:1) aspect ratio--not widescreen ! I'm no fan of pan-and-scan hatchet-jobs on widescreen films, but neither am I a fan of this equally reprehensible practice of cutting away significant portions of a film's top and bottom just so it will fit comfortably on somebody's new [expensive]16:9 50" plasma wall-set. Just as P&S deprives us of frequently vital side information, here we are deprived of the beauty of Ron Fricke's *full-screen* images. And, man, do things look cramped up there. Do I dare lay the blame on MGM, rather than on the Institute for Regional Education, which owns the film ? In any event, it's a pity, a real pity ! And a shame !
The other bad news is that the 5.1 soundtrack on this new disc is muffled, dull and lacking in definition and depth when compared to the privately-issued disc the IRE made available some time ago. Surround effects that were so obvious in the theater are nowhere to be heard here. I don't know if the IRE is still making their offer, now that this new MGM disc is in stores; but if you're a true Koyaanisqatsi devotee, and can ante up the money for a donation, my advice to you is to give it some *serious* consideration. It's absolutely worth it !
I'd really hoped this new release would be a dream-come-true, but now having viewed it, the only satisfaction I take is that I still have my private copy of the IRE disc...
There is the obvious nature vs technology duality. In parallel, this duality can be expressed as god-made vs man-made. There are the old world vs the new world, Hopi cave drawings vs high-tech cinematography and music (the movie we are watching), communication by drawing with coal vs television commercials, ocean waves swelling and receding, cities rising and falling, deserts eroding while factories assemble cars and package massive amounts of food, insurpassable terrain and numerous roads, cars, and airplanes, the slow tide of nature and the fastlane happening all at once. And in the midst of these dual forces is man, a product of the natural world creating the technological world. It is rather like the yin and yang, yang the primary color at present. Technology has usurped first place in defining the world around us and nature is merely a prelude. We are increasingly defined by our technological achievement rather than by our nature. We are gradually defined by our creation, perhaps as god is defined by us. Yet echoes of nature pulse within the concrete fortresses of our technolgy. The roads are like arteries pumping red and white cells to and fro, the factories generate food to help us survive, we record our deeds on film for posterity (the very movie we are watching is a testament of sorts),and we aspire to break free of gravity's tethers reaching for whatever lies ahead.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The movie itself deserves to be seen, being what could be called "State-of-the-art Photography in motion".
A must have for those who enjoy the visual arts.
Great product, in the plastic, brand new ... also shipped pretty much the next day.
cool movie! Interesting documentary for those who love nature and are against technology.
There is no singular meaning for this movie. "To some its a work of art, to others it's a piece of s$#@," was what I believe Godfrey Reggio stated during his interview for... Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2006 by Catherine J. Hannon
I saw this movie my senior year in highschool, back in 2002. I can honestly say that i have never been moved in such a way by a film as i have been by Koyaanisqatsi. Read morePublished on June 1 2004 by Sinuhe D. Montoya
This movie is amazing. It's not for everybody or for everyday viewing, but it is truly an experience. Read morePublished on April 30 2004 by Brandon Lopez
More than anything, this is a beautiful movie. It is difficult to judge this movie on anything else because although the title is a commentary on modern day life, the actual movie... Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2003 by Leon M. Bodevin
I was 14 years old when I first watched the film. It has been a year now. Only now after watching the film a hundred times do I truly understand it. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2003
My interest in KOYA (Koyaanisqatsi) and the Qatsi trilogy was sparked after watching a video called "Baraka" (1993) filmed by Ron Fricke, who is also the DP for KOYA. Read morePublished on Sept. 14 2003 by FrontPage