3-disc, box set with new, restored high-definition digital transfers of all three films, approved by director Godfrey Reggio.
A singular artist and activist, Godfrey Reggio is best known for his galvanizing trio of films The Qatsi Trilogy. Astonishingly photographed, and featuring unforgettable, cascading scores by Philip Glass (Mishima), these are immersive sensory experiences that meditate on the havoc humankind's fascination with technology has wreaked on our world. From 1983's Koyaanisqatsi (the title is a Hopi word that means "life out of balance") to 1988's Powaqqatsi ("life in transformation") to 2002's Naqoyqatsi ("life as war"), Reggio takes us on an edifying journey from the ancient to the contemporary, from nature to industry and back again, all the while keeping our eyes wide with wonder.
An unorthodox work in every way, Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi was nevertheless a sensation when it was released in 1983. The film wordlessly surveys the rapidly changing environments of the northern hemisphere. The director, cinematographer Ron Fricke, and composer Philip Glass created an astonishing collage; the film shuttles the viewer from one jaw-dropping vision to the next, moving from images of untouched nature to others depicting human beings' increasing reliance on technology. Often using hypnotic time-lapse photography, Koyaanisqatsi looks at our world from an angle unlike any other.
Five years after Godfrey Reggio stunned audiences with Koyaanisqatsi, he joined forces again with composer Philip Glass and other collaborators for a second chapter. Here, Reggio turns his sights on third world nations in the southern hemisphere. Forgoing the sped-up aesthetic of the first film, Powaqqatsi employs a meditative slow motion in order to reveal the everyday beauty of the traditional ways of life of native people in Africa, Asia, and South America, and to show how those cultures are being eroded as their environment is gradually taken over by industry. This is the most intensely spiritual segment of Reggio's philosophical and visually remarkable Qatsi Trilogy.
Godfrey Reggio takes on the digital revolution in the final chapter of his Qatsi Trilogy, Naqoyqatsi. With a variety of cinematic techniques, including slow motion, time-lapse, and computer-generated imagery, the film tells of a world that has completely transitioned from a natural environment to a human-made one. Globalization is complete, all of our interactions are technologically mediated, and all images are manipulated. From this (virtual) reality, Reggio sculpts a frenetic yet ruminative cinematic portrait of a world that has become officially post-language.
- Cast: Marlon Brando, Elton John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Christie Brinkley, Belladonna, Madonna, Ron Fricke, Philip Glass, Godfrey Reggio
- Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
- Number of Discs: 3
- Rating: Not Rated
- Label: The Criterion Collection
- Release Date: 12/11/2012
- Run Time: 274 minutes
- Catalogue #: 639
- Essence of Life, an interview program with Reggio and composer Philip Glass on Koyaanisqatsi
- New interview with cinematographer Ron Fricke about Koyaanisqatsi
- Early forty-minute demo version of Koyaanisqatsi with a scratch soundtrack by Allen Ginsberg, along with a new introduction by Reggio
- New interview with Reggio about Koyaanisqatsi’s original visual concept, with behind-the-scenes footage
- Impact of Progress, an interview program with Reggio and Glass on their collaboration
- Inspiration and Ideas, an interview with Reggio about his greatest influences and teachers
- Anima Mundi (1992), Reggio’s twenty-eight-minute montage of images of over seventy animal species, scored by Glass
- Video afterword by Reggio on the trilogy
- The Making of “Naqoyqatsi,” a brief documentary featuring interviews with the production crew
- Panel discussion on Naqoyqatsi from 2003, with Reggio, Glass, editor Jon Kane, and music critic John Rockwell
- Music of “Naqoyqatsi,” an interview with Glass and cellist Yo-Yo Ma
- Television spots and an interview with Reggio relating to his 1970s multimedia privacy campaign in New Mexico
- A booklet featuring essays on the trilogy by film scholar Scott MacDonald, Rockwell, and author and environmentalist Bill McKibben