Koyaanisqatsi + Powaqqatsi | Together for the first time in the UK on Blu-ray


Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are the first two parts of film-maker Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy, a kaleidoscopic, alchemic, collage of sights and sounds exploring mankind’s relationship with life (qatsi) in all its myriad hues.

Created between 1975 and 1982, Koyaanisqatsi, which comes from the Hopi Indian word meaning ‘life out of balance’, is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of man and nature. ‘We do not live with nature any longer; we live above it, off of it as it were,’ says Reggio. ‘Nature has become the resource to keep this artificial or new nature alive.’ While Reggio’s debut aimed to provoke, it was an experimental venture with no single objective. But its stunning images and hypnotic time lapse photography (by Ron Fricke) and haunting Philip Glass score has made it a cult favourite and a work of pure cinematic art.


1988’s Powaqqatsi – which in Hopi refers to ‘a negative sorcerer [or entity] who lives at the expense of others’ – is much a more structured piece, and leaves modern urban society behind to observe the ‘rareness’ of indigenous cultures in the Third World. Here, Reggio’s camera (helmed by Graham Berry and Leonidas Zourdoumis) celebrates the work and tradition that defines a particular culture, while also recording the transformation these societies undergo when faced with the lure of modernisation. ‘It’s an impression, an examination of how life is changing’, explains Reggio. ‘That’s all it is. There is good and there is bad. What we sought to capture is our unanimity as a global culture.’ To encapsulate the film’s two key elements – rhythm and tradition – composer Glass fuses the electronic, the tribal and human voices to create a moving, majestic symphony.


The Arrow Films Blu-ray release (out on 12 May 2014) features new, restored 1080p digital transfers of both films in their original 1.85:1 aspect ratios, approved by director Godfrey Reggio, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtracks. Special features include an introduction by filmmaker and composer Gary Tarn, interviews with director Reggio and composer Philip Glass, trailers and collector’s booklet. Also included is Reggio’s 1992 28-minute short, Anima Mundi featuring a score by Philip Glass. The two releases are Region B locked.

Steve Coogan’s daft radio DJ Alan Partridge sings the opening theme of Koyaanisqatsi in the 2013 action comedy, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on May 11, 2014, in Avant Garde, Documentary, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: