Mike Beversluis

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

[LMS] Powaqqatsi

Powaqqatsi, di Godfrey Reggio (USA 1988)

This movie is the second of the series that Godfrey Reggio made on the relationship between man, nature and technology; the titles of the movies are words in the Hopi language. This "Powaqqatsi" means "a way of life that consumes the life forces of other beings in order to further its own life." (obviously I copied the translation from a website).

A brief description of what the movie is about: it is a collage of images and music (in the same style as Koyaanisqatsi on which I posted some time ago) that shows lifestyles and daily happenings in pre-industrial societies and grafts on this scense that shows the effect of the contact between advanced technology and societies different from the one that created the various advanced technologies.

I just dive into two comments.
It is easy to understand what is the dilemma that the movie points out, but at least for me it is difficult to take a position. The invasion of modern technology makes it so that traditional forms of knowledge are lost; on the other hand without moderm technology food (for example) would cost much more than it does: the Nobel Prize for peace in 1970 was awarded to Norman Borlaug because he contributed to create some new varieties of rice and wheat that helped feed many nations, among which India.

The second comment is that looking at villages set in beautiful landscapes I recalled something that i read time ago in a very nice geography book: the people that built the villages did not plan them with an aesthetic goal in mind, but nevertheless the result they achieved is aesthetically pleasing.

As a conclusion, my preferred shot is the one in which someone (a boy maybe) is leading a horse in deep waters. A fantasy of mine is that this guy needs to bring the horse in the water out of some practical necessity, but in doing so he experiences much joy.


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