Koyaanisqatsi – Powaqqatsi – Naqoyqatsi

POWAQQATSI‘s overall focus is on natives of the Third World — the emerging, land-based cultures of Asia, India, Africa, the Middle East and South America — and how they express themselves through work and traditions. What it has to say about these cultures is an eyeful and then some, sculpted to allow for varied interpretations.

Where KOYAANISQATSI dealt with the imbalance between nature and modern society, POWAQQATSI is a celebration of the human-scale endeavor the craftsmanship, spiritual worship, labor and creativity that defines a particular culture. It’s also a celebration of rareness — the delicate beauty in the eyes of an Indian child, the richness of a tapestry woven in Kathmandu — and yet an observation of how these societies move to a universal drumbeat.

POWAQQATSI is also about contrasting ways of life, and in part how the lure of mechanization and technology and the growth of mega-cities are having a negative effect on small-scale cultures.

The title POWAQQATSI is a Hopi Indian conjunctive — the word Powaqa, I which refers to a negative sorcerer who lives at the expense of others, and Qatsi –i.e., life.

Several of “POWAQQATSI’s” images point to a certain lethargy affecting its city dwellers. They could be the same faces we saw in the smaller villages but they seem numbed; their eyes reflect caution, uncertainty.

And yet POWAQQATSI, says Reggio, is not a film about what should or shouldn’t be. “It’s an impression, an examination of how life is changing”, he explains. “That’s all it is. There is good and there is bad. What we sought to capture is our unanimity as a global culture. Most of us tend to forget about this, caught up as we are in our separate trajectories. It was fascinating to blend these different existences together in one film.”

To be certain, POWAQQATSI is a record of diversity and transformation, of cultures dying and prospering, of industry for its own sake and the fruits of individual labor, presented as an integrated human symphony — and with Philip Glass’ score providing the counterpart, performed with native, classical and electronic instruments, its tribal rhythms fused by a single majesterial theme.”

QATSI trilogy at NYU Bobst

Not for the answers that might be given, but for the questions that can be raised is this website established. Indeed, the question is the mother of the answer. KOYAANISQATSI’s task is to raise questions that only its audience might answer. KOYAANISQATSI is the first part of the QATSI Trilogy. POWAQQATSI, the second film, was completed in 1988. NAQOYQATSI, as yet unfunded and in search of an angel/investor, will complete the Trilogy. As KOYAANISQATSI focuses on the north and POWAQQATSI on the south, NAQOYQATSI will project its gaze on the global world. With NAQOYQATSI’s completion, the QATSI Trilogy will stand as a cinematic utterance to an untellable event – the technological transformation of the planet. Also, found on this site is the film ANIMA MUNDI. While out-of-sequence of the Trilogy, ANIMA MUNDI has a place in the Trilogy’s progression. All of us who participated in its making bonded in our commitment to realize NAQOYQATSI. What we learned here could be taken there. The Trilogy represents a process, a long span of reflection and production. ANIMA MUNDI’s subject and cinematic treatment expanded the QATSI effort. Created in 1991 with a gift from the Bulgari family of Rome, ANIMA MUNDI was offered as a media voice to the WWF in support of their biological diversity campaign. As the general focus of the QATSI Trilogy is the technological milieu, it is the purpose of this site to foster a web-dialogue on this...