Koyaanisqatsi

Watched this on Blu-ray plus all of the Criterion supplements and my main takeaway is, man oh man, was Godfrey Reggio lucky to get Philip Glass in on this deal. That score makes a huge difference. The film itself is an immense technical achievement, of course, thanks in large part to the innovative time-lapse cinematography by Ron Fricke, and it may be the best-known of all non-narrative* films — a kind of gateway drug for budding cinephiles who are just realizing that juxtapositions of image and sound can have a clear meaning that stands well apart from what’s dictated by plot, character, and dialogue. In some ways it’s a simplistic and unchallenging film, and it’s also utterly mesmerizing — Reggio’s neo-Luddist posturing could be dialed down a long way without burying the message, but there’s great beauty here on both sides of the nature/technology divide.

* I sometimes argue the “non-narrative” descriptor when it comes to this film, which is so clearly structured that its various visual themes and motifs almost function as story threads and even characters, but that’s a subject for a more verbose review.

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