Abstract: Koyaanisqatsi

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  • Topic: Koyaanisqatsi, Philip Glass, Godfrey Reggio
  • Pages : 2 (361 words )
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  • Published : February 11, 2013
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JEFFREY J. HANSHAW 02/06/13

ABSTRACT: “Koyaanisqatsi,” directed by Godfrey Reggio; music composed by Philip Glass; and cinematography by Ron Fricke.

The cult film Koyannisquatsi is an interesting depiction between the interaction of nature, man, and technology. The film opens with of nature and the power it holds juxtaposed with the sometime destructive nature of man that eventually transitions into a more symbiotic relationship between man, nature, and technology.

Martin Heidegger is never mentioned, but his musings on this relationship man has with nature and technology can be applied, although Heidegger delved much deeper into essence of technology, where Reggio et al. barely scratch the surface. Here, the film emphasizes the danger of technology, whereas Heidegger emphasized more on the dominance of technology in our everyday lives, something the film depicts well. As fine a line as this may be, it is important to note how one piece of technological wonder is not in and of itself evil or bad (and always beneficial to someone), but its what the film causes the viewer to think about: what will the future between man and technology bring if this is what this relationship is now? Will we even notice?

Glass’ score fits perfectly with the film. The beginning, mostly natural brass instruments and nature, while the latter part of the film utilized the modern synthesizer with scenes of a hectic city life. The slow, serene musical balance between the nature/technology facade (e.g. buildings with clouds flowing past) and the fast repetitive sounds with images of a chaotic urban lifestyle (e.g. factory workers on an assembly line) compliment one another well.

One thing I would have personally been interested in seeing is Reggio, Glass, and Fricke’s interpretation of how natural disasters can disrupt this relationship. There is heavy emphasis on the destruction man can bring about (on purpose or by mere accident), but what...
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