Godfrey Reggio and Koyaanisqatsi Essay

Submitted By choym
Words: 2181
Pages: 9

The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of Koyaanisqatsi
As the typical and fortunate human being plops down on his rotating chair to type on his laptop, he sips the fresh coffee made from the machine downstairs. Next to him, the radio’s announcer chatters loudly of the devastation in Japan and the major setback that has fallen on the tsunami’s victims. Ignoring the opportunity to ponder whether or not he would be able to survive without technology, what appears to be a crucial necessity, he allows his son to switch on his video games to hear the beeps and clicks of the controller while staring into the screen. After letting his fingers type familiar words into his phone, click click click!, the typical human being sends his text, beep!, and makes his way to drive to work. This type of circumstance that now surfaces our world most every day is partially what Koyaanisqatsi, directed by Godfrey Reggio, is desperately fighting to stop. Koyaanisqatsi, at a first glance, is no more than a hypnotic cinematography that violently uses music and elaborate images in a confusing conduct. However, after one has opened their mind to see what this non-narration film screams, he or she can concur that Koyaanisqatsi is a message to us to strive to save our world from the turmoil that technology has plagued upon us.
Koyaanisqatsi is a unique film in which its argument is constructed only through the use of images and music. By manipulating the view of these images in his montage, such as the static shot, the zoom, the pan, fast and slow motion, double exposure, etc., and clever usage of music, Reggio allows the audience to first interpret their own definition of the argument of the film before providing a solid piece to its claim, the definition of Koyaanisqatsi: life in turmoil, life out of balance. He also endows us with three prophecies chanted at the end to enhance what we make of the film. Though the purpose of this film, according to Gregory Reggio, was to have audiences make of the argument themselves, I believe that Koyaanisqatsi brilliantly convinces us in the claim that technology has become such a monstrous part in our lives that its presence will create a downfall in our world, if it has not yet done so. The specific manipulations of images and their juxtaposition, hand-in-hand with the screams of plea that the music represents, and the final definition of Koyaanisqatsi, all these coincide to open our eyes to our destroying of what was once our primal (nature), and our desperate clinging to and eventual becoming of modernization (technology). We ourselves have become industrialized, endangering the world we live in, and we must act now to lessen the damage of what seems inevitable. Although many would argue that Reggio’s presentation is manipulative in that he molds his film by creating the motion of the images himself to prove his point and in other aspects as well, the opposite could just as easily be evident. Reggio does not control what we make of his film by changing what we see; rather, he just enhances certain stylizations of it, such as the acceleration of scenes, to allow us to discover what already is, what is under the surface of it all. This staggering and attentive detail that he pays to the vivid film enlightens our perspective; we see that technology has become or primal in that it is what we now rely on and live by. This monumental subjugation to technology that we all exist in has caused us to not only lose qualities that were considered primal, but our individuality as well. Although Reggio depicts this claim brilliantly, it ultimately all falls short in its pursuit to persuade the audience in the wrongness of technological evolution.
Koyaanisqatsi, in essence, argues not only that we have come to live in and breathe technology, but also that this existence is disintegrating and needs an immediate alternative of being. Gregory Reggio brilliantly depicts this in his juxtaposition and usage of the clouds,…