Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Written and directed by Godfrey Reggio, Naqoyqatsi is the third film of the Qatsi trilogy that explores civilization as it goes from the natural world to a more technological world. A more daring film than its predecessors, the film goes into ideas of what might happen as it is told in a various degree of styles. Especially as it plays into the non-narrative approach of Reggio’s previous films. The result is a chilling yet astonishing film about a world that has entered into a civilized form of chaos.

Translated from the Hopi language, the film’s title means life as war where the film plays into an idea of a world where it has transitioned from a natural world into a more technological-based world that is driven by numbers. Told through a mixture of found-footage, stock footage, time-lapse images, and slow-motion all through a digital yet virtual presentation. Godfrey Reggio creates something where it plays into a world where technology has taken over and everything becomes less realistic but also filled with a sense of chaos where it is a part of life that is becoming more troubled. With the help of editor and visual effects designer Jon Kane and through the music score of Philip Glass, Reggio creates the film as if it is driven by ideas of virtual images that displays a sense of chaos where the natural world is becoming more extinct as it is surrounded by images of binary numbers.

With the help of cinematographer Russell Lee Fine, with additional photography by Timothy Housel and John Bailey, the film has this very de-colored look to play into something that feels like a virtual reality where even celebrities become created by computers and such as if it‘s a world that is starting to lose itself. Kane‘s editing would also display that sense of chaos where he and Reggio would infuse images of military marches and such to play into the sense of humanity devolving into something that feels more machine-like. Glass’ music would also intensify this new sense of transition with its broad and ominous score that would include some somber pieces that is led by the cello solos of Yo-Yo Ma as it laments into a world that is losing itself. Even as it would lead to conflict as the montages of people fighting each other whether it’s in war or protest marches

With the help of sound designer Steve Boeddeker, the film’s music would help maintain a sense of rhythm to the film as it would progress from something serene yet discerning such as the image of the tower of Babel to the images of war. Though Reggio’s message about technology taking over the natural world might not come across everyone as it might be too cerebral or far-fetched for some. It does showcase what might happen if the world is driven by machines and technology without the concept of natural resources.

Naqoyqatsi is a remarkable film from Godfrey Reggio. Though it may not have the exhilarating yet naturalistic images of its predecessors, it is still an engaging film that explores a world where everything becomes driven by technology and chaos. Even as Reggio showcases what it would be like through the early ideas of digital filmmaking at its finest. In the end, Naqoyqatsi is a phenomenal film from Godfrey Reggio.

Godfrey Reggio Films: Koyaanisqatsi - Powaqqatsi - (Visitors (2013 film))

© thevoid99 2014

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