Friday, 14 May 2010
Walked to Brighton Dome last night for a very special event: a Brighton Festival showing of Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi - with a live soundtrack provided by the Philip Glass Ensemble onstage. In the Hopi Indian language , the word Koyaanisqatsi means "life out of balance…a state of life that calls for another way of living", and a lot of the imbalance shown is about the relationship between nature, humans, and technology: cars were central, whether jammed in cities, steaming along multi lane highways, or smearing the night with their head and tail lights. If you’ve seen it (and you must), you’ll know that Koyaanisqatsi hops between elegiac slo-mo and crazy fast-forward time lapse photography. Starting with Eden-esque scenes, it all starts to go wrong when the humans turn up: wreaking destruction and spreading chaos, depicted in searing images of mineral extraction and despoilation, the mad rhythms of the factory, and our legacy of pollution. The film has no dialogue: the interplay of images and music provides the narrative.Watching it in a cinema, or on a DVD, it’s a powerful experience. Seeing it with a sparkling print of the film projected onto a huge screen, with the Philip Glass Ensemble on stage underneath, was breathtaking.