Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Life In Balance: Music and Film


So the post before kind of delved into how i feel about music and film, and what it does to both the cinema goer and the film itself.
One film combines both of these two beautifully and is called Koyaanisqatsi. It is am experimental film from 1982 that combines slow motion footage with time lapse stills to bring a Life Out of Balance, which is what Koyaanisqatsi means when translated (well thereabouts).
It won numerous awards, one of which was the Francis Ford Coppola endorsement and he is now credited as executive producer. The visual elements go from amazement, to haunting, to puzzlement. And the soundtrack from Phillip Glass compliments it brilliantly. The soundtrack is nearly as long as the film, film is 86mins and music is 76, but sometimes you don't know its there. It transitions the different segments of the film as it moves from the early stages showing the environment and humanity through the progression of war, atomic age, right up to the 'micro-ship' age at the end. All culminating in the final scene showing the ultimate price of technology and the progression of man. NB: Its not the challenger disaster which happened 4 years after.

Some of you might recognise some of the music from the first public trailer of GTA IV, or the scene from Watchmen where Dr Manhattan talks about his origins. Koyaanisqatsi has also appeared in parody on the Simpons where an Itchy and Scratchy show entitled Koyaanis-Scratchy: Death Out of Balance was shown. Madonnas 'Ray of Light' video also resembles the feel of Koyaanisqatsi.

The soundtrack was so popular that the Phillip Glass Ensemble toured while playing the music live over the film, pretty much like War of The Worlds, if you have ever seen that on its tour.

Koyaanisqatsi was the first in the 'Qatsi' trilogy which shows Life out of Balance. Powaqqatsi was the second and shows the Life in Transition, primarily third world countries and losing the fight of holding onto their traditions in the face of industrialization. The third is Naqoyqatsi which means Life at War and shows the  'transition from a natural environment to a technology-based industrial environment'.

All three films are cheap to pick up if you want to see what I'm talking about. Those less inclined to purchase them can view the film below courtesy of Google.

Admittedly i used to watch this stoned and concentrated more, as you cant really have a busy mind when watching it. Not that I'm suggesting you get stoned and watch it, just pay attention, don't discount it for being some arty film you wont get, people interpret what they see in different ways. Watch it, think about it, discuss it.

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