Naqoyqatsi


1h 29m 2002

Brief Synopsis

In this cinematic concert, mesmerizing images are plucked from everyday reality, then visually altered with state-of-the-art digital techniques. The result is a chronicle of the shift from a world organized by the principles of nature to one dominated by technology, the synthetic and the virtual. E

Film Details

Also Known As
Death of Nature, The, Naqoyqatsi: War Life
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2002
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX
Location
Japan; Russia; United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m

Synopsis

In this cinematic concert, mesmerizing images are plucked from everyday reality, then visually altered with state-of-the-art digital techniques. The result is a chronicle of the shift from a world organized by the principles of nature to one dominated by technology, the synthetic and the virtual. Extremes of intimacy and spectacle, tragedy and hope fuse in a tidal wave of visuals and music, giving rise to a unique, artistic experience that reflects the vision of a brave new globalized world.

Crew

David Abelson

Editing

David Abelson

Assistant Editor

Dave Arnold

Camera Operator

Michele Barrett

Production Manager

Joe Beirne

Producer

Joe Beirne

Other

Carl Blair

Key Grip

Steve Boeddeker

Sound Designer

Jeffrey Brown

Production Coordinator

Hector Castillo

Music Engineer

John Crowley

Colorist

Martin Czembor

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

John J Dowdell

Colorist

Dan Dryden

Sound Mixer

Brant Fagan

Steadicam Operator

Lauren Feeney

Production Coordinator

Russell Fine

Director Of Photography

Jonathan Forgash

Craft Service

Manuel Gaulot

Visual Effects

Manuel Gaulot

Animator

Joe Gawler

Colorist

Philip Glass

Music

Philip Glass

Other

Steve Goldin

Associate Producer

Ray Hemenez

Other

Ray Hemenez

Researcher

Cameron Hickey

Animator

Jon Hokanson

Gaffer

Timothy Housel

Cinematographer

Miroslav Janek

Editing

Miroslav Janek

Other

Jon Kane

Unit Director

Jon Kane

Editor

Jon Kane

Graphic Designer

Jon Kane

Other

Jim Keller

Music Producer

Judy Haas Kiphart

Production Accountant

Francis Kuipers

Other

Francis Kuipers

Music

Mel Lawrence

Coproducer

Susan Lazarus

Post-Production Supervisor

Bruce Lehto

Craft Service

Jeffrey Lew

Creative Consultant

Sophia Lin

Production Manager

Alisa Lomax

Production Coordinator

John Marxhausen

Gaffer

Christine Mcandrews

Production Manager

Monte Mcguire

Technical Advisor

Zachary David Medow

Animator

Sanja Milic

Makeup

Jonathan Mintz

Key Grip

Bill Morrison

Editing

Michael Morton

Helicopter Pilot

Kurt Munkacsi

Music Producer

Federico Negri

Line Producer

Ellen Nylen

Property Master

Robert Omer

Gaffer

Godfrey Reggio

Other

Godfrey Reggio

Producer

Godfrey Reggio

Screenplay

Michael Riesman

Music Conductor

Elizabeth Scheflow

Location Manager

Steven Soderbergh

Executive Producer

Meryl Stavitz

Production Coordinator

Stan Szaba

Negative Cutter

Lawrence Taub

Producer

Jon Weston

Sound Engineer

Film Details

Also Known As
Death of Nature, The, Naqoyqatsi: War Life
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2002
Distribution Company
MIRAMAX
Location
Japan; Russia; United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m

Articles

Naqoyqatsi


Naqoyqatsi is the long-awaited third film in the Qatsi trilogy, which director Godfrey Reggio began in the 1980s with Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi.

The Qatsi movies are feature-length, non-narrative films. They consist of stunning visuals and hypnotic music from minimalist composer Philip Glass. And yet, what keeps them from merely being 90-minute experiments is that each movie has form and structure. They show that film can be composed and arranged like music, instead of the more traditional storytelling approach.

Each of the three films has a message that is approximated in the Hopi language, and the resulting Hopi word becomes the title of the film. Naqoyqatsi, roughly translated, means "war as everyday living" or "life as war."

To make his case that "life is war," Reggio shows pictures of soldiers, of athletes, and of political dissidents. He shows military training footage, science films, and images of world leaders, footage from crash tests and commercials. He also shows images of technology and mass media. He looks closely at the violent or insane images that most of us take for granted every day.

The images in Naqoyqatsi mostly come from other sources. In one of the DVD's extra features, visual designer Jon Kane says that 80 per cent of the footage for Naqoyqatsi is found footage. Only 20 per cent was photographed specifically for the film.

For example, Reggio shows American soldiers in super slow motion, belting out a song. At these slow speeds, they appear to be in distress, mouths open wide, faces distorted, every breath racking their entire body. He also shows two athletes competing fiercely, again in super slow motion. These athletes are so intent on beating the other guy that they are apparently oblivious to two facts revealed in the image, first, that they are participating in the "Goodwill Games," and second, that they are both on the same team.

Perhaps the strangest image of all is a beautiful, healthy-looking blonde woman, also shown in super slow motion, holding a hamburger and laughing merrily. Finally, a serious, sultry look comes across her face as she leans down to take a bite. When she bites it, her face becomes almost orgasmic. Clearly, some advertising firm thought they hit visual paydirt with this actress' performance, but Reggio sees it as evidence that the world has gone mad. By slowing it down and taking out of context, it's easy to see Reggio's point of view. This healthy-looking blonde begins to look like an insane, Orwellian representative of McWorld.

Naqoyqatsi is darker than the other two movies in the trilogy, both literally and metaphorically. Where the other films were shot in bright daylight or neon-lit nighttime, Naqoyqatsi almost exclusively uses footage that has been run through a computer. Landscapes and people are shown in negative or with solarization filters, resulting in a world that never sees the sun.

Naqoyqatsi is also the first film in the trilogy to use images created specifically for the film. (For example, zeroes and ones form a three-dimensional wormhole through which the "camera" flies.) This is a mixed blessing. It frees Reggio to make his visual points more directly, but by using those tricks it feels like he's cheating. In the previous films, the message was backed up by photographic "evidence" from the real world. Whether or not you believed life was "out of balance" (as the Hopi word "koyaanisqatsi" suggests), the visual case was built from photographs of the world, and not from digital pixels.

Luckily, you don't have to buy into the message to appreciate these films. They can be viewed as pure composition and form -- film as music. They are symphonies made of images and sound, and not just sound alone.

Earlier this year, MGM released the first two films on DVD. Now Miramax has released Naqoyqatsi on DVD. In addition to a pristine picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the disc has several special features. Reggio and producer Steven Soderbergh introduce the movie in a segment called "Life is War." Composer Philip Glass and cellist Yo-Yo Ma talk about the music in a chapter called "Music of Naqoyqatsi." Most impressively, the disc includes a 55-minute panel discussion at NYU wherein Reggio, Glass, and Visual Designer Jon Kane go into detail about the making and meaning of Naqoyqatsi.

To order Naqoyqatsi, go to TCM Shopping.

by Marty Mapes
Naqoyqatsi

Naqoyqatsi

Naqoyqatsi is the long-awaited third film in the Qatsi trilogy, which director Godfrey Reggio began in the 1980s with Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi. The Qatsi movies are feature-length, non-narrative films. They consist of stunning visuals and hypnotic music from minimalist composer Philip Glass. And yet, what keeps them from merely being 90-minute experiments is that each movie has form and structure. They show that film can be composed and arranged like music, instead of the more traditional storytelling approach. Each of the three films has a message that is approximated in the Hopi language, and the resulting Hopi word becomes the title of the film. Naqoyqatsi, roughly translated, means "war as everyday living" or "life as war." To make his case that "life is war," Reggio shows pictures of soldiers, of athletes, and of political dissidents. He shows military training footage, science films, and images of world leaders, footage from crash tests and commercials. He also shows images of technology and mass media. He looks closely at the violent or insane images that most of us take for granted every day. The images in Naqoyqatsi mostly come from other sources. In one of the DVD's extra features, visual designer Jon Kane says that 80 per cent of the footage for Naqoyqatsi is found footage. Only 20 per cent was photographed specifically for the film. For example, Reggio shows American soldiers in super slow motion, belting out a song. At these slow speeds, they appear to be in distress, mouths open wide, faces distorted, every breath racking their entire body. He also shows two athletes competing fiercely, again in super slow motion. These athletes are so intent on beating the other guy that they are apparently oblivious to two facts revealed in the image, first, that they are participating in the "Goodwill Games," and second, that they are both on the same team. Perhaps the strangest image of all is a beautiful, healthy-looking blonde woman, also shown in super slow motion, holding a hamburger and laughing merrily. Finally, a serious, sultry look comes across her face as she leans down to take a bite. When she bites it, her face becomes almost orgasmic. Clearly, some advertising firm thought they hit visual paydirt with this actress' performance, but Reggio sees it as evidence that the world has gone mad. By slowing it down and taking out of context, it's easy to see Reggio's point of view. This healthy-looking blonde begins to look like an insane, Orwellian representative of McWorld. Naqoyqatsi is darker than the other two movies in the trilogy, both literally and metaphorically. Where the other films were shot in bright daylight or neon-lit nighttime, Naqoyqatsi almost exclusively uses footage that has been run through a computer. Landscapes and people are shown in negative or with solarization filters, resulting in a world that never sees the sun. Naqoyqatsi is also the first film in the trilogy to use images created specifically for the film. (For example, zeroes and ones form a three-dimensional wormhole through which the "camera" flies.) This is a mixed blessing. It frees Reggio to make his visual points more directly, but by using those tricks it feels like he's cheating. In the previous films, the message was backed up by photographic "evidence" from the real world. Whether or not you believed life was "out of balance" (as the Hopi word "koyaanisqatsi" suggests), the visual case was built from photographs of the world, and not from digital pixels. Luckily, you don't have to buy into the message to appreciate these films. They can be viewed as pure composition and form -- film as music. They are symphonies made of images and sound, and not just sound alone. Earlier this year, MGM released the first two films on DVD. Now Miramax has released Naqoyqatsi on DVD. In addition to a pristine picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the disc has several special features. Reggio and producer Steven Soderbergh introduce the movie in a segment called "Life is War." Composer Philip Glass and cellist Yo-Yo Ma talk about the music in a chapter called "Music of Naqoyqatsi." Most impressively, the disc includes a 55-minute panel discussion at NYU wherein Reggio, Glass, and Visual Designer Jon Kane go into detail about the making and meaning of Naqoyqatsi. To order Naqoyqatsi, go to TCM Shopping. by Marty Mapes

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 18, 2002

Released in United States on Video June 17, 2003

Released in United States 2002

Shown at Tulluride Film Festival August 30 - September 2, 2002.

Shown at Venice International Film Festival August 29- September 8, 2002.

This is the third film in Godfrey Reggio's trilogy along with Koyaanisqatsi (USA/1982) and Powaqqatsi (USA/1988).

Released in United States Fall October 18, 2002

Released in United States on Video June 17, 2003

Released in United States 2002 (Shown at Tulluride Film Festival August 30 - September 2, 2002.)

Released in United States 2002 (Shown at Venice International Film Festival August 29- September 8, 2002.)