Movie Reviews
2:12 pm
Mon February 3, 2003

Naqoyqatsi

Reggio continues to delight me with his eclectic accumulation of spectacular photography, real and digital, and his integration of Philip Glass's Eastern music.

An impressionist like me loves the images and music of director/writer Godfrey Reggio's "qatsi" trilogy. Although the time-lapse and slow-motion photography have been amply used by everyone else after his first two installments ("Koyaanisqatsi," Hopi for "life out of balance"; and "Powaqqatsi,' "life in transition"), his current "Naqoyqatsi," "war as a way of life," adds the irony of our current march on Sadaam and the lyrical accompaniment of Yo Yo Ma to the enduring minimalism of Philip Glass's Buddhist-like music.

I am still moved by the images and music, which show the contrast between the always-perfect creations of Mother Nature and the always-troublesome workings of human beings. The three films rely on images of natural wonders, cityscapes, newsreels, stock television footage, and now digital code to show the beauty and horror man can create.

In this installment of 450 images, Reggio depicts numerical code, sports, and popular culture images, with too heavy a reliance on stock footage from training films, for instance. If you look carefully, you'll see the name of Enron flash across the screen. If you think too much, you'll wonder why Reggio shows wax dummies of famous people in a curious take on Madame Tussaud.

Film is a visual medium after all. Reggio continues to delight me with his eclectic accumulation of spectacular photography, real and digital, and his integration of Philip Glass's Eastern music. Narrative structure is not needed here, just a scenario that suggests we will never beat Nature at the creation game, but in destruction we rule.