The film Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio is a very powerful collection of scenes that emphasize connections between politics, culture, architecture, power, technology, and nature. I found it very interesting how the film developed. At first I didn’t understand what this film was about. It started as a very pure, harmonious piece with beautiful scenes of nature and landscapes accompanied by music of the same feelings. But then I began to understand what this film was about as a scene of a large mining truck took over the landscape and a large black cloud began to creep and take over everything that surrounded it. It began to be clear to me that the objective of the film was to notify and remind us as humans of the impact we’ve had on nature thus far.
The film seems to say that we are off rhythm and out of balance with nature. Our introduction of technology and many other things has become a virus to the balance of nature and we’ve in a way derailed nature from its natural path. The role of human kind is shown in the film as accelerators of nature. The film shows several scenes with dramatic and fast paced music that illustrates our speed compared to our natural surroundings. It shows where humans are moving and interacting in comparison to nature and our natural surroundings. As lights slowly go on and off and clouds move at a natural, flowing pace, mankind is speeding through time. The film also shows mankind as being blind to what we’ve created. A scene shows how we drive through freeways and share spaces with trains and airplanes which illustrates that we’re oblivious to our surroundings. We’re not aware of the technologies we’ve created. We are unaware that we’ve become slaves to a system we are creating. I think the film is trying to show us the reaction to our actions in life. The film shows scenes that illustrate how we’ve used nature’s natural resources and manipulated it. The power of water is emphasized in the film but shortly after we see how that power is overtaken by the introduction of a man-made creation in dams.
I think the film relates to politics, culture, architecture, power, and technology in a very distinct way. The film supports a political view that is pro-environment by the way it frames nature and technology with the interaction of mankind. That interaction creates the culture in which we live in. We as human beings created a system (culture) which has become harmful to nature and the point of the film is to make us evaluate ourselves in how we live and question if we contribute to the things that are harmful to nature. Things such as pollution and even the architecture we design. Are the materials we use damaging to the earth? Are the designs we create going to be like the large housing project being demolished in the film? I think those are the types of questions the film is trying to get us to ask ourselves. Questions that change our culture and get us to create technology that won’t hurt in the long run. Technology that will walk side by side with the flow of nature and will be opposite of the meaning of Koyaanisqatsi “life out of balance”.
In conclusion the way the director decided to convey this message through this film without dialogue and with music is very interesting and I think it contributed to the power of the message the film was trying to convey. I think that was a message in itself, which shows that we as human-beings have created a problem so big that we don’t need words to describe it…we just need to observe our surroundings and listen to what mankind has created.