I woulod just like to announce to all you Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi fans: I shall be attending a screening of both films at the Barbican in London next January with live orchestra, in the presence of Philip Glass.

I am excited.

That is all.


At what age does jealousy crease to head it’s ugly rear?

Haven’t seen those films yet, but I have liked some of the Glass I’ve heard. Have a blast.

Now that sounds like an event.

I first saw Koyaanisqatsi in the middle of a big Benjamin Lee Worf binge – I strongly recommend reading Language, Thought, and Reality before screening the films.

Apart from clever images to accompany Hopi prophecies (eg. contrails from jets for “near the end-times, spiderwebs will be traced in the sky”,) both the film and the music do a good job of breaking down our (artificial) sense of time as a concrete linear process, and presenting us with a more naturalistic perception.

Oh yeah, you know I’m envious. Enjoy!

I’m curious about these films because I keep seeing the names pop up with no explantation of what the films are about.

This mention of Whorf and time is interesting too… are the films abotu how Whorf was wrong about the Hopi language with respect to their perception of time?


I need to work on my perception of the keyboard.

Take me with you.

They’re sort of philosophical music videos. No traditional plotlines - just images illustrating the films’ underlying hypotheses (in Koyaanisqatsi case, the notion that modern life is “out of balance”) and Glass’ hypnotic score.

Check you local independent video store - they’re well worth seeing.

Don’t bother with the video unless ya have a big screen and decent sound, or you’ll be bored silly. Hijack a friend’s home-theatre if need be, though. Well worth the time.

Baraka is a great film, too - though not produced by the same people. Baraka is a stunning technical achievement, and in my opinion, more visceral & emotional than the qatsi’s, which are about as intellectual as you can get when your libretto consists of a few phrases in an endangered language.

Uh, no-- I don’t know if Glass had read Whorf at all, but he’s the only populist of Hopi grammar that I know of.

Koyaanisqatsi means, approximately, “Life in chaos,” which pretty much sums it up, although there’s a certain amount of beauty in chaos.

Powaqqatsi means, approximately, “Life-sucking magician”, and contrasts urban living w/ life in undeveloped areas.
To me, it seemed as though some of the ideas Whorf presented were reflected in the films, but I don’t posit a causal relationship.

Or something.

Love both movies. That would almost be worth a trip to London to see. When I was in school I made sort of a a 10 minute super-8 version of Koyaanisqatsi called Tusaqnawki* which I was told by a Hopi Indian professor meant very roughly ’ to rip something off’.

*I probably spelled that wrong. Pretty sad I can’t remember the name of my own movie.

I love the music to these movies (found the music by watching the great “Truman Show”), but I don’t know anything about Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi. I called my video rental place, nothing… what are they exactly?

SDMB cliche:
The IMDB is your friend.

I think I spelled it wrong the fist time I looked thanks, and I also thought they were two parts of the same picture

Thanks for the information… I loved Baraka, so I’ll see if I can track these down. Austin is a pretty good city for finding this sort of this, so I should have luck.


Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are both not currently in release (unless you want to do what I did and shell out $200.00 for a DVD autographed by the director), however, they are scheduled to be re-released soon. From the official website

Oh, and Larry the director of Baraka (which I must respectfully disagree and call a lesser film, but still worth watching) worked on Koyaanisqatsi as a film editor, I do believe.

Oh, and hazel- rah, there’s been several threads on Koyaanisqatsi, so if you’re not getting your questions answered here, you might check one of the other threads.