Naqoyqatsi

on October 18, 2002 by Ed Scheid
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"Naqoyqatsi" is the third film in director Godfrey Reggio's "Qatsi Trilogy," following "Koyaanisqatsi" and "Powaqqatsi." The title of this wordless documentary is the Hopi Indian word that can be translated as "War as a way of life." Many of the images are from stock footage of newsreels, commercials and TV shows. The footage was "tortured"--i.e., reconfigured digitally. The new images are inventively juxtaposed to visualize Reggio's themes that the world has become homogenized by technology, and that the image has replaced the word. Ironically, Reggio uses technology to express his ideas. Unlike the vibrant colors that stood out in Reggio's previous films, most of the manipulated material has a washed-out look, leading to a standardized appearance that lacks the visual appeal of the earlier works.

As images merge into each other, a painting of the Tower of Babel leads to shots of empty buildings, followed by athletes, supermarket products, wax dummies of world leaders, and corporate logos. The final sequence deals with violence and war. Reggio's continual visual barrage is absorbing as well as thought-provoking. As in the other "Qatsi" films, the distinctive score is from Philip Glass. Directed by Godfrey Reggio. Produced by Joe Beirne, Godfrey Reggio and Lawrence Taub. A Miramax release. Documentary. Rated PG for violent and disturbing images, and for brief nudity. Running time: 90 min

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