One of the finest – and certainly my favourite – non-narrative films ever made, Godfrey Reggio’s beautiful work examines mankind’s relationship with the natural world through a kaleidoscope of juxtaposed images, edited into a grand visual opera and accompanied by a majestic score from minimalist composer, Phillip Glass. From deserted, crumbling cities to exploding rockets, the majesty of the Grand Canyon and the skyscrapers of Manhattan to microchips, motorways, conveybelts and endless streams of commuters, Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi indian word that means “life out of balance”. Through his images, Reggio suggests that humanity’s efforts to assimilate to the ebb and flow of nature is destined to fail – and in all likelihood will result in us destroying the planet, which will in turn starve us.
Words do the film no justice at all. It is best experienced for yourself, and thanks to a gorgeous new presentation of the film by the Criterion Collection, this is no possible in your own home better than ever before.