Naqoyqatsi

Dir. Godfrey Reggio, 2002
Gentlemen and good ladies of the court, I present to you Exhibit A
in this capital punishment case against Postmodernism.
Godfrey Reggio is, based on this film and 1991’s Anima Mundi, almost completely artistically bankrupt. I got the sneaky suspicion after watching the latter last year at Philip Glass’ “Shorts” concert, that Reggio is not even a filmmaker, but an editor, and not a coherent one. The third and perhaps final installment on the “qatsi” series that never needed to be a trilogy is a dull hash-up of stock footage and iconography. You could take a random assortment of famous 20th century people, places, and things, apply random After Effects filters to them, string them all together and play some Philip Glass over the top and you’d have this film. If, as Greil Marcus says, MTV is “the pornography of semiotics,” then this is a Red Shoes Diary marathon, not even offering a bang for your buck.
I know it’s a lot to even expect a message or even an idea from a Reggio film, but at least Powaqqatsi was visually interesting. The cheapness of the effects are apparent, and any shot that looks nice is the work of somebody else.
My friend Jon has never liked Reggio, and disagrees with me that at least Koyaanisqatsi is good. If Reggio makes any more films, I may have to give Jon his due.
(And what’s up with the poster: “America Is Test Driving the Future”? Perhaps the marketing department thought that the film was just a collection of commercial footage. Oh, wait…)

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