FMP: Research – Godfrey Reggio
After looking at the documentary modes I found some filmmakers that I could look at in relation to my project and draw inspiration from; one of which is an American director of experimental documentary films, which is right down my alley in regards to my project.
‘Godfrey Reggio is an inventor of a film style which creates poetic images of extraordinary emotional impact for audiences worldwide. Reggio is prominent in the film world for his QATSI trilogy, essays of visual images and sound which chronicle the destructive impact of the modern world on the environment.’
I will be watching the Qatsi trilogy and two of Reggio’s films ‘The Holy See’ and ‘Anima Mundi’ to gain some perspective and see how and what the inventor of this style did with his films.
The Qatsi trilogy, consists of the films Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqats.
Reggio’s debut as a film director and producer, is the first film of the QATSI trilogy. The title is a Hopi Indian word meaning”life out of balance.” Created between 1975 and 1982, the film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds — urban life and technology versus the environment. The musical score was composed by Philip Glass.
KOYAANISQATSI attempts to reveal the beauty of the beast! We usually perceive our world, our way of living, as beautiful because there is nothing else to perceive. If one lives in this world, the globalized world of high technology, all one can see is one layer of commodity piled upon another. In our world the “original” is the proliferation of the standardized. Copies are copies of copies. There seems to be no ability to see beyond, to see that we have encased ourselves in an artificial environment that has remarkably replaced the original, nature itself. We do not live with nature any longer; we live above it, off of it as it were. Nature has become the resource to keep this artificial or new nature alive.
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.
Reggio’s second film, conveys a humanist philosophy about the earth, the encroachment of technology on nature and ancient cultures, and the splendour that disappears as a result. The film focuses on the modern way of life and the concept of the Global Village, entwining the distinctive textures of ancient and Third World cultures. POWAQQATSI was co-written, co-produced and directed by Reggio and composed by Philip Glass between 1985 and 1987.
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. 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.
Na-qoy-qatsi: (nah koy’ kahtsee) N. From the Hopi Language. 1. A life of killing each other 2. War as a way of life. 3. (Interpreted) Civilized violence.
NAQOYQATSI takes us on an epic journey into a land that is nowhere, yet everywhere; the land where the image itself is our location, where the real gives way to the virtual. As the gods of old become dethroned, a new pantheon of light appears in the integrated circuit of the computer. Its truth, becomes the truth. Extremes of promise and spectacle, tragedy and startling hope fuse in a digital tidal wave of image and music. In a poetic nanosecond, NAQOYQATSI give utterance to a new world coming, a new world here.
In 1991 Reggio directed ANIMA MUNDI, a film commissioned by Bulgari, the Italian jewellery company, for the World Wide Fund for Nature which used the film for its Biological Diversity Program. Accompanied by the music of Philip Glass, the twenty-eight minute ANIMA MUNDI is a montage of intimate images of over seventy animal species that celebrates the magnificence and variety of the world’s fauna.
Anima Mundi is a poetic combination of music and images created from the finest existing footage from the naturalist film field, interwoven with original images and accompanied by a continuous soundtrack composed by Philip Glass based on rhythms and music from the most unspoiled traditional ethnic music. This work was designed to celebrate the Biological Diversity Campaign of WWF and to create feelings and emotions which, through rich, striking and breathtaking images from Nature may lead its viewers to feel that they are truly a part of the natural world.
The Holy See
Is yet to be found out about let alone seen as it is still in post-production and waiting funds to finish it off, however a trailer has been released and everyone who’s has seen any of the Quatsi trilogy is very excited and intrigued to see The Holy See, there are lots of comments and a big buzz still patiently awaiting the release of the film.