Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

In Godfrey Reggio's experimental film, all set to Philip Glass' mesmerizing, pulsating, minimalist electronic score:

  • the visually striking images and shots of every-day objects with time-lapse photography, including clouds rolling over landscapes (Grand Canyon, Monument Valley)
  • the most famous part of the experimental film - "The Grid", in which a massive rising moon disappeared behind a tower
  • the sped-up tail-lights of cars on a highway making the roads appear like blood-filled arteries
  • the views of riders on subway escalators, landing jetliners, the creation of American icons like hot dogs, Twinkies, televisions and cars
  • the exhausted, pensive reflection after the "The Grid" hit its feverish climax
  • and the finale, an explosion of a V2 rocket and its flaming module falling back to earth in slow-motion
  • the dissolve into Hopi cave art -- then the only English narrative of the film -- the translation of the chanted Hopi prophecies and the definition of the title: ("1. crazy life, 2. life in turmoil, 3. life out of balance, 4. life disintegrating, 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living")

Visually Striking Images

Translation of the Title: Koyaanisqatsi


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