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The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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 postlanguage.
Top Customer Reviews
I'm not technical when it comes to film, but, for lack of a better description, the Criterion transfer has rock solid frames (no jitter). In a normal movie this wouldn't be as big of a deal as it is in Koyaanisqatsi. The time-lapse filming is just transformed into something that is magnificent. Everything looks awesome and my favorite scenes are just incredible.
The contrast of the film seems to be double. I am not sure if that is more a product of the transfer or the format, but the cloudscapes and cityscapes are unbelievable. I could watch The Grid over and over again.
This is the best Blu-Ray disc. Period. If I could give it 10 I would.
Thank you Criterion!
Three of my favorite films of all time, "The Qatsi Trilogy" is a work of art that virtually nothing else can compare to. A series of gorgeous films, not documentaries (though some have called them this) but moving, living art, that depicts man and Earth's relationship, man and society's relationship, and man and machine's relationship.
"Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance" delves into the beauty of the planet, and man's intrusion upon it. As in all three films, time lapse photography, stunning aerial footage, and some of the most brilliant cinematography you will ever witness (by Ron Fricke, director of Baraka, which is a distillation of this trilogy in my eyes), will keep you in awe and wonder, from first frame to last.
Add to that, three lush soundtracks by Phillip Glass (with an amazing performance by Yo-Yo Ma on "Naqoyqatsi") and Godfrey Reggio's stunning vision, captured and created over two decades, and you have a stellar work of art, that is truly incomparable. There is no dialogue in ANY of these films, but an epic tale is told nonetheless.
"Powaqatsi - Life in Transformation" reaches back to ancient civilization and on into the present, questioning everything we refer to as "progress." What is the price we pay for "advancement," and how do we (and the planet) lose out by the steps we take to move forward?Read more ›
And now all three films will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of The Criterion Collection in December 2012.
It's important to note that these films are without dialogue, they are in essence films of visual poetry and everyone will have their own interpretation. These are films that are meant to be experienced and truthfully, going into summaries about these three films will make this film seem weak by reading it, as the purpose of these films are mean to be visual. But I will give my interpretation of these three films in my judgment call section.
So, we start with the filmmaker. Godfrey Reggio is one of the most intriguing filmmakers who may not be as well-known as commercial Hollywood filmmakers but he is a person who has given back to the community. The Co-founder of La Clinica de la Gente, the facility provided medical care to 12,000 community members in Santa Fe. He started up "La Gente", a community organizing project in Northern New Mexico's barrios. In 1963, he co-founded Young Citizens for Action, a community organization to aid juveniles who may have gotten themselves into trouble due to becoming part of a street gang.Read more ›
1) The prints look better. The MGM DVD prints looked really good, but these DVDs look even better. In particular, the opening sequence of "Koyannisqatsi" is so perfect that it takes away a bit from my original experience of the film. On previous viewings, I couldn't grasp the scale of each cave shot, so I didn't know if I was looking at the side of a cliff or a tiny cave painting. That loss of a frame of reference was very important to my interpretation of the rest of the movie. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the picture is so clear on this print that I can see the grain in the rock and can instantly ascertain the scale. Clarity takes away a bit for me, but the tradeoff is that the entire film looks stunning.
I've never seen "Powwaqatsi" in a bad print, and this one doesn't disappoint. And "Naqoyqatsi" finally looks OK, though there is still some stretching in aspect ratios, but at least it's part of the director's intent.
2) There are more extras than on the MGM DVDs, including rough pre-Glass cuts of "Koyannisqatsi" and a long overdue interview with Ron Fricke, the guy with the camera. For "Qatsi" fans, this stuff is golden.
Worth every penny. Give your old MGM DVDs to someone who hasn't seen these films.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Criterion transfers are always superior quality. The "Qatsi" movies are pure genius.Published 3 months ago by PeterJ
put this down after a few hours. Not what i thought. This is my fault not the book.
Maybe over my head -
A timeless classic that is still relevant today. By all means, buy it in Bluray.Published 4 months ago by Jade Warrior
I first saw Koyaanisqatsi during its initial release in 1983. It left me amazed, moved and disturbed. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Long-Suffering Technology Consumer
Love it. Packaging is pretty cool. Wish the video quality was higher than it is but what are you gunna do. It was shot a long time ago.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
BIG FAN of this genre of film/documentary/visual art - first two parts amazing, sort of lost it's visual impact somewhere by the third one - might be more to do with the intended... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ahrjay