The full moon in “Koyaanisqatsi”


“Koyaanisqatsi” is a film by the American director Godfrey Reggio, which was made between 1975 and 1982. The term “ko-yaa-nis-qatsi” derives from the language of the Hopi tribe and means “life out of balance” or “life in turmoil”. The movie manages without words, conveys its message with powerful images and haunting music by Philip Glass. It is a critical film that serves as eye-opener for the dark side of our civilization through comparing of poetic impressions of nature and images of the consequences of human activity. “Koyaanisqatsi” is the first part of a trilogy, followed by “Powaqqatsi” (1988) and “Naqoyqatsi” (2002).

There is a scene in the film (47:18–47:54 min), where you can see the full moon in close-up, rising next to a skyscraper and slowly disappearing behind it. It is another symbol for the contrast of nature and civilization, wonderfully staged in the comparison of the circular, archaic natural form of the Moon and the rectangular structure of modern architecture.

(Full moon scene from 7:09 min)

“Koyaanisqatsi” is cinematic art in the best sense of the word, which fascinates and irritates us at the same time. The movie asks questions and confronts us. This feels even more dramatic, when the destruction of our planet progresses unstoppably up until now. The film scholar James Monaco correctly describes “Koyaanisqatsi” as being one of the most important films in the present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner