Thursday, December 16, 2010

Koyaanisquatsi: Life Out of Balance (A pro-Indigenist Film)

From Google Video:

As you watch this film, please note how much of the destruction depicted comes from white het male supremacist societies--how much of the destruction was designed and carried out under the control and order of patriarchal and racist white het men and their way of understanding things like progress and value. For much more on this, please read Yurugu: An African Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior, which may now be purchased for as little as $18 (US).

The film is a series of views of the modern world, using music and images to tell a story about what happens when life goes in anti-Indigenist directions.

This 1982 documentary was the first of three films sometimes referred to as the Quatsi Trilogy and each title is a Hopi word: Koyaanisqatsi (Life in turmoil; Life out of balance),  Powaqqatsi (Parasitic Way of Life; Life in transformation), and Naqoyqatsi (a Life of Killing each other; Life in war).

I do sincerely believe the work of Dr. Vandana Shiva and many Indigenist activists across the globe have thoroughly addressed and found solutions to the problems raised in these films by the Western non-Indigenous film-maker and musical director.

The film asks questions that many pro-Indigenous and Indigenist activists have had the answers to for hundreds of years--indeed, there were answers before the questions came to rise in the imaginations of the dominant whites. One question remains: do those of us who are not Indigenous, and who live in what is called the First or Second World, want to hear the answers from those living in what is called the Third World, or the Fourth World (the worlds of Indigenous Peoples internationally and globally)?

Do we care enough about humanity and animals, plants, rivers, oceans, and sky, to place the interests and concerns and perspectives of Third and Fourth World women at the center of our own concerns and activism?

For more about the project, see this, which is from *here*.

And from Wikipedia, this:
Koyaanisqatsi (English pronunciation: /ˈkɔɪ.ɑːnɪsˈkɑːtsiː/ KOY-ah-nis-KAHT-see), also known as Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke.

The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse stock footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explains the lack of dialogue by stating "it's not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It's because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live."[6] In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means "crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living".[7] The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology. Koyaanisqatsi is the best known of the trilogy and is considered a cult film. However, because of copyright issues, the film was out of print for most of the 1990s.[8]

Powaqqatsi (trailer) may be seen *here*.

Naqoyqatsi (trailer):

Naqoyqatsi, part 1:


  1. lol did you just find out about these movies? where the hell have you been

  2. Hi curious bat fang,

    No, not at all. :)

    I think I saw Koyaanisqatsi when it first was released in theatres, actually. I only say parts of the other two much later.

    I've been in conversation with some folks about pro-Indigenous movies and was doing some research and came across these.
    I'd never mentioned this trilogy on my blog and thought I'd have one post about it.

    While I have problems with most films that are allegedly about Indigenous issues, culture, spirituality, politics, or worldviews, if they are not made by Indigenous people--and these films are certainly not made by Indigenous people--I do like the visual-poetic way these films get at something that is, in some sense, beyond verbal language--there's a horror to all of this that comes through, to me, in these films. And it is the horror of Western Civilisation which, ironically and callously presents itself as the pinnacle of human societal accomplishment.

  3. And p.s. to curious bat fang,

    You may wish to tone down your presumptuousness, next time you comment here. If you can't conduct yourself in a more respectful way, your comments won't get posted.