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Powaqqatsi (Widescreen)

3.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 31.97
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Product Details

  • Actors: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II, Dan Rather, Cheryl Tiegs
  • Directors: Godfrey Reggio
  • Writers: Godfrey Reggio, Ken Richards
  • Producers: Godfrey Reggio, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Lawrence Taub, Mandeep Kakkar
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Studio: Fox Video (Canada) Limited
  • Release Date: Sept. 17 2002
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000068OCT
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,456 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Hailed by audiences and critics around the world as mesmerizing (The Detroit News), this second installment of writer/director Godfrey Reggio's apocalyptic qatsi trilogy is quite simply one of the most magnificent visual and aural spectacles ever made (L.A. Daily News)! Combining stunning cinematography with the exquisite music of award-winning composer Philip Glass, Powaqqatsi is a breathtaking experience working on many levels'emotional, spiritual, intellectual andaesthetic (The Hollywood Reporter)! Bold, haunting and epic in scale, this extraordinary film calls into question everything we think we know about contemporary society. By juxtaposing images of ancient cultures with those of modern life, Powaqqatsi masterfully portrays the human cost of progress. It is a film that engages the soul as well as the mind; it is truly an absorbing experience (Movies on TV and Videocassette).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Some reviewers have expressed confusion or displeasure over the message of this film. Having attended a question-and-answer session with the director, Godfrey Reggio, and having worked as an editor in the journalism field, I hope I can assist in interpretation. Here is mine in a nutshell: Exploitation produces poverty.
The principle that the filmmakers were seeking to illustrate was that while colonization comes in diverse forms, it is always destructive in the end -- even if the means are through economic domination rather than brute occupation. So-called "civilized" societies prey upon the Third World for their own gain, thereby ravaging the spirit of its people, depleting the natural resources of its nations, and tainting the uniqueness of its cultures.
The film reveals scenes that the U.S. media often fail to show -- the backbreaking labor and environmental destruction inflicted as offerings to the Almighty God of Profit. Worship at the altar of financial markets generates our wealth (the trilogy's first film, Koyaanisqatsi, covers technology- and consumer-based culture), yet as we acquire greater strength and contentment, our business practices shorten the life span and deteriorate the quality of life in weaker countries. The extraction and importation of their very vitality seems to be the fundamental wellspring for our Gross Domestic Product, essentially amounting to a lopsided transaction akin to parasitism.
For contrast, the music for the soundtrack incorporates energetic elements of this highly valued commodity from faraway lands: pounding rhythms, intricate phrases, meditative passages, foreign melodies, exotic harmonies, and even a dynamic children's chorus. This soundscape was intended to provide a sense of the heart and soul of the camera's subjects, i.e.
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Format: DVD
I was looking forward to the "statement" on culture that the packaging promised, but instead I watched what turned out to be a very long music video with many extremely disparate images juxtaposed to give some message that I wasn't getting. In fact, I'm not sure there was much of a message--the filmmakers might have intended there to be one, but it's buried in a mix of visual images that are certainly striking, but definitely not cohesive enough to make the message clear.
The filmmakers also have decided to focus solely on the grim side of culture, and there are so few smiling faces here that it makes you wonder if two-thirds of the people in the world live each day with grim, depressed looks on their faces. By using slow motion so much, they tend to pull the dynamic side of life completely out of the picture, and it grows old very quickly. Where are the playing children? And as another reviewer said, they left out the abominable side of the third world, such as beatings and executions, and they've also left out the graft and corruption that make it difficult for anyone to help people in these countries.
I felt all along that I was being manipulated, forced to watch images of their choice so that my worldview would become what they desired my worldview to be. As a film, this is much better watched in segments, music piece by music piece, perhaps, as it does grow old after half an hour or so. All in all, this is a beautiful effort, but beauty, of course, does not make for substance and depth (or even cohesion), which are elements that this film is lacking.
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Format: DVD
Having only seen Koyaanisqatsi prior to the DVD release of Powaqqatsi, I had hoped this would build on the power, beauty and unique vision of the earlier film, since both were directed by Godfrey Reggio. It didn't, unfortunately. Powaqqatsi lacks overall focus and direction, it seems to me, and during many shots, I was never sure as to exactly what the director was making a statement about. I don't think film direction has to be blatant, but yet ultimately it is about communication, and the viewer needs to have some sense of what is being said. Powaqqatsi falls flat, for instance, with way, way too many slo-mo shots of bland crowds milling about, coupled with way, way too many similar shots of women walking with huge, weighty packages on their heads. The first film in the trilogy, a ground breaking art film, used similar crowd scenes to devastating effect, and their was never any doubt as to the mood and message being projected. Powaqquatsi meanders, hitting many of essentially the same visuals over and over again, many of them lasting far beyond the point when the viewer has completely absorbed their visual impact, and you're never really sure why you're seeing a very similar scene further into the film. The photography, while technically excellent, lacks the visual poetry and punch of Koyaanisqatsi, even though most of Powaaqatsi seems to have been shot specifically for the film, while Koyaanisqatsi utilized a large number of stock footage shots. Perhaps the magic of Koyaanisqatsi was also due to the film editing of Ron Fricke, who was apparently not involved in Powaaqatsi and went on the create the marvelous "Baraka" which shows off his considerable talents in direction and editing. The music in Powaaqatsi, by Phillip Glass, is outstanding, and carries the film through its weaker visual moments.Read more ›
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