Koyaanisqatsi Review

A while back when I mentioned I was contributing to the IRE fund to get the DVD of Koyaanisqatsi, someone asked if I would review it when it came in. It did, and it’s beautiful. It’s a very bare bones edition. It came in just a paper sleeve and could have been mistaken for a CD Rom game. (I imagine that they are trying to keep costs down so that most of the money will go to the legal defense fund.) The digital transfer is excellent, with only a few dust marks in one sequence (which may be part of the stock footage they used.) It’s not letterboxed, but I believe that the original aspect ratio was pretty close to TV size anyway. (It looks great on a big screen TV; I recently bought a big 32" set which I actually wanted to bring out the subtle detail in Spongebob Squarepants.)

So was it worth the $180 I contributed to get it? For me it was. I’m a big fan of the movie anyway. I know a lot of people get bored by it, and if you watch it waiting for something to happen, you’ll probably be disappointed. Even the director, Godfrey reggio, has said that the images only have meaning that you project onto them.

But it’s difficult not to interpret the film given the translation of the title as “life out of balance.” Especially in one of the later sequences when the camera focuses in on the faces of people and the music takes on an almost dirgelike quality. There’s a sense that you can’t help but feel sorry for the way people have to live their lives. And the way the film is bracketed bu the rocket taking off at the beginning and the extreme slow motion of the rocket being destroyed at the end to me seems to be the best metaphor for this “crazy life.”

Worth $180? Maybe not my best buy all year, but yes, worth it for me.

Is there a way to see this film without paying $180? I’ve heard a lot about it, both here and elsewhere, and I want to see it.

But, I can’t afford $180. I’d gladly pay that to support something I believe in, but, having not seen Koyaanisqatsi, I can’t give money away like that.

Does anyone in the DC area have a copy of this and want to arrange a screening?

Koyaanisqatsi is one of my favorite cinematic events. Luckily, when it came out, I was working in an “art” movie theatre, and we used to watch it after hours, with five people in the house. So, I’m reallllly spoiled with it. We could watch it on the big screen at mmidnight, and then ask to see our favorite parts run again. (It was a big favorite of theatre workers at the time)

So I had the small benefit of my small wage job at the time.But frame for frame, I’d say it was worth that big screen experience for anyone. The cloud footage alone is worth it!

Montfort, I saw it at a Hollywood Video down heah south of the river not six months ago. Apparently documentaries don’t wear out as fast Home Alone does.

Once you see it, you’ll seriously consider dropping the ducats, as I am now considering. Dude, two tabs of Blue Unicorn, playing the film while listening to Tales From Topographical Oceans? A life changer, man.

Heck, I don’t even really like that album. That’s how good it is.

Me, I’m more of a Close to the Edge man, myself.

But, I’ll keep that in mind (Hollywood Video). Anniz and I were in my friendly neighbourhood Blockbuster tonight and I didn’t think to look for it there.

Euty, that was me who asked for the review. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. I hate to admit it, but I was secretly hoping the transfer would be sub-par or mis-framed or anything to give me an excuse not to buy the thing. Man, between a friend’s upcoming wedding, my recent purchase of the Hitchcock box sets and, possibly, Koyaanisqatsi I may have to hibernate all summer.

I didn’t even know Koyaanisqatsi received a video release at all. Maybe I’ll have to scour my local video stores. At least the ones that Ballbus…er…Blockbuster hasn’t driven out of business yet.


I saw this movie a long time ago when I checked it out of the library. GREAT film! I was amazed.

However, I don’t know the story behind it. IRE fund? Legal defense fund? Can you fill me in?


Here is a brief description of the legal wranglings.

Oi Sofa, which Hollywood did you find it at? I been looking for it since the last time the film was discussed here on the boards (at Blockbuster, stupidly enough) and have had no luck.

I saw it at the one on Lee Hwy (Rte. 29) in way-north Arlington. Hold on a sec… (Mapquest rules)

…At the intersection of Lee Highway and North Harrison Street, about one mile east of the East Falls Church Metro. There’s a Blockbuster right across the street, too.

I also vaguely remember seeing the sequel at a Hollywood Video in the shopping center at Lee Highway and Nutley St in Fairfax, near the Vienna Metro. That was a couple of years ago.

Furthermore, I have yet to check my own here in Arlington, right next to Bardo. I’ll probably do that this weekend. If I do find it, I’ll let you know.

Another suggestion is the small-guy joints that dot the area. Because they specialize mainly in adult films, the turnover of the non-money-shot-titles is a lot slower. Furthermore, the owners and workers may be less in tune with the value of such a prize.

Naturally, these are all on VHS. If anyone turns it up, why not let me know, and maybe we can throw a viewing?