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Powaqqatsi - Life in Transformation (1988)

Christie Brinkley , David Brinkley , Godfrey Reggio  |  G |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Powaqqatsi - Life in Transformation + Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance + Naqoyqatsi
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Product Details

  • Actors: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II, Dan Rather, Cheryl Tiegs
  • Directors: Godfrey Reggio
  • Writers: Godfrey Reggio, Ken Richards
  • Producers: Godfrey Reggio, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Kurt Munkacsi, Lawrence Taub
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2002
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068OCT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,490 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Powaqqatsi - Life in Transformation" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Hailed by audiences and critics around the world as mesmerizing (The Detroit News), this second installment of writer/director Godfrey Reggio's apocalyptic qatsi trilogy is quite simply one of the most magnificent visual and aural spectacles ever made (L.A. Daily News)! Combining stunning cinematography with the exquisite music of award-winning composer Philip Glass, Powaqqatsi is a breathtaking experience working on many levels'emotional, spiritual, intellectual andaesthetic (The Hollywood Reporter)! Bold, haunting and epic in scale, this extraordinary film calls into question everything we think we know about contemporary society. By juxtaposing images of ancient cultures with those of modern life, Powaqqatsi masterfully portrays the human cost of progress. It is a film that engages the soul as well as the mind; it is truly an absorbing experience (Movies on TV and Videocassette).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
By Rykre
When I first watched this film last night, I was rather disappointed. It was different in a BIG way from "Koyaanisqatsi". I then went to sleep going over the images that I saw in this film as I slept. The next morning, I had myself set down to watch it again. I learned this time, that my perspective was all wrong. I thought, probably just like everybody else, that this second installment of the "qatsi" trilogy was suppose to be more of what we saw in "Koyaanisqatsi." We shouldn't think this way at all. Don't connect these two films as if they have to be watched as one before the other. They ARE two separate projects with two separate ideas to be viewed with the mind's eye. You don't need to see "Koyaanisqatsi" first in order to understand Godfrey's next film "Powwaqatsi".

"Powaqqatsi" is a masterful piece of work addressing a cold and/or warm view of several third world countries. Godfrey Reggio gave us this visual exactly as we should see it. Maybe it wasn't as FUN to watch as "Koyaaniqatsi", but, I really don't think Reggio is trying to entertain us, as much as he is trying to inform us about our world without the use of words. Which, in itself, is an act of genius. To tell us what he is showing us, would present it all as "some guy's opinion" which could arouse doubt and argument. He gave us the world in a way that allows us to say what we see and can form our own opinion of what we see. This allows everyone to walk away from this film with a different perspective than somebody sitting right beside them watching it.

This film is definitely very colorful. There is beauty in the devastation. Plus there is unpleasant discourse in what seems to present a sense of order.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, overwhelming and stangely hopeful July 23, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Video is no way to see Powaqqatsi or Koyaanisqatsi, seeing it on the big screen is the only way to capture Reggio's brilliant work. But if it is your only option, don't pass it up. I never imagined Reggio could follow up Koyaanisqatsi with such a gives me hope the third movie in the trilogy, Naqoyqatsi, will be as brilliant. Powaqqatsi shocks you out of the comfort of your safe middle class (or better) existence and reminds you that we are very much in the minority with our creature comforts. Yet, despite the haunting images and the curious juxtaposition of the Glass music, the film leaves you with courage that the human animal can rise above the harsh realities of the current state of our economically segregated world. These two movies changed my life. If you ever get a chance to see Glass perform the sound track live while he shows either move, don't miss it at any price. Now, where can I get my copy?
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please watch this trilogy in order. September 9, 2003
Powaqqatsi (1988) is the second DVD in the Qatsi trilogy, an I suggest that you consider watching this release second. The first to view is Koyaanisqatsi (1983); the third, Naqoyqatsi (2002). With the filming of the trilogy taking over 20 years to complete, the advances in the music, technology and filming makes me suggest that you start from the beginning to watch how things have changed in that time.
POWA (Powaqqatsi) focuses on life for people mainly in the southern hemisphere. Please also view my review of KOYA (Koyaanisqatsi), which I will complete shortly after submitting this. I plan to soon purchase NAQO (Naqoyqatsi) and will review that as well (obviously I found the film concept entertaining).
KOYA focuses on the northern hemisphere's lifestyles of living with technology in all aspecfts of their lives while POWA shows life that is more driven by manual labor. Yet as the movie progresses, you see more and more hints of the introduction of technology, which will inevitably wind up permeating and consuming the current culture. Watch for the placement of a SEIKO billboard, which really stuck in my mind.
It can be difficult not to feel some sense of pain for the people's lifestyles, but please stay open- minded to an understanding that perhaps the lifestyle that DP's Graham Berry and Leonidas Zourdoumis documented is what the subjects being filmed are most comfortable with. Watching POWA first, however, may take the whole trilogy out of order and context for you. That's why I suggest that you purchase the two- DVD set. And I'm sure that plans have been in the works to release the trilogy as a boxed set.
Make certain also to watch director Godfrey Reggio's comments (highlighted with composer Philip Glass).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A vivid journey into the third world March 13, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Powaqqatsi took me out of my safe, clean, technological "First World" existence into the empoverished, exploited, and sad reality that is the third world. But I found it to be a very good film. And any fan of Philip Glass' music would not want to miss it. For that reason alone I thoroughly enjoyed Powaqqatsi. The vivid images of people being used as pack animals in the opening sequence were disturbing, perhaps more so by the incongruently joyful music during those scenes. Thereafter the movie alternated between the themes of poverty, religion, exploitation, and innocence, all to the music of one of our most original and creative composers. Actually, Philip Glass' score was strongly influenced by Near- and Far-Eastern Asian music (with heavy sampling according to the soundtrack notes), as well as South American rhythms. Most sequences (like the train) were definitely Glassian. The movie itself suffered a little from a lack of a unified and flowing theme, such as was obvious in Reggio's first and by far the best 'Qatsi film, Koyaanisqatsi. These reflections are fading, as it has been about seven years since I saw Powaqqatsi in the theater. I am looking forward to the video's re-release.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Just amazing! The visuals, the score - this is such a thought-provoking film. The scenes of people from other areas of the world just going about life, the up close and personal... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ms. 90
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
I found this moving by accident at one time. It is one that you watch over and over and see something new each time.
A very different movie. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kellie J Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars The way we've been.
Had to buy this! Koyaanisquatsi changed the perspective of many college students back in it's day. This is another mind expander. Excellent.
Published 10 months ago by happy camper
5.0 out of 5 stars Hours of Pleasure..
If you dig the Philip Glass thing, there's hours and hours of pleasure had from the Powaqqatsi dvd. This movie is great for studying, house-cleaning and just plain watching and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by JimR
3.0 out of 5 stars No Koyaanisqatsi but good
As the title says it is no Koyaanisqatsi but it is good in its own right.

Where Koyaanisqatsi was a reflection this one starts to get in your face rather than just make... Read more
Published 15 months ago by spike_michael
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid visuals
Taking a friends advice I broadened my horizons beyond Koyaanisqatsi, which I liked. This film is a great take on moral issues entirely different and was well done. Read more
Published 20 months ago by D. Butts
3.0 out of 5 stars Big let down
Powaqqatsi was a big let down after watching Koyaanisqatsi years ago. The film maker tried using the same formula as the original and it fell flat. Read more
Published on September 20, 2012 by P. Canning
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your average travelogue
I liked this sequel better than the first film, Koyaanisqatsi. Director Godfrey Reggio's team puts together a seamless sequence of gritty, surprising and sublime images of working... Read more
Published on June 16, 2012 by S. Shimatsu
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing both visually and in music
I saw "Koyaanisqasti", the first of the "Qatsi" trilogy, in a movie theatre in 1983 in Washington DC, and it was (and still is) one of the most memorable movie viewing experiences... Read more
Published on April 3, 2012 by Paul Allaer
5.0 out of 5 stars Powaqqatsi
Very powerful presentation. This is the second in the trilogy and although the visual images are not as strong as the first, the music is superb.
Published on March 28, 2012 by John Sassano
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