Koyaanisqatsi Reflection

While I knew that all the images in Koyaanisqatsi were not staged, the film still felt unreal to me. The images were all familiar to me, but seeing them out of context of what I am used to threw me off. The film fell in line Munsterberg’s idea that film in unique from other art forms in that it can re-create reality in the least real way possible. Having The soundtrack as well made the film feel like it was to be viewed as a spectacle and for entertainment purposes only. The longer it went on however, I realized what was making it feel so unreal was the objective portrayal of the real world. Everyone is used to seeing life through their own subjective experience; having images we are used to seeing taken out of our subjective context and put to cinematic music it was causes Koyaanisqatsi to feel so unreal.

On the other hand, the film also plays along with Bazin’s argument that film is uniquely able to capture reality as it really is, unlike other art forms. Especially the time lapse scenes of city life that show busy streets and highways over the course of many hours. People argue against Bazin in that film only shows what the director wants to depict as reality, but Koyaanisqatsi truly does city life in one of the most objective ways possible.

The aspect I noticed most about the film was the constant contrast. There was contrast between what is being seen and heard, rhythm of city life and rhythm of nature, and a feeling of familiarity with the images vs. not recognizing them. I spent a lot of the time watching the movie wondering if there was a deeper meaning that I was missing. After thinking about how the film takes everyones subjective experiences out of context, I decided that to me, Koyaanisqatsi is supposed to mean whatever you want. Because everyone has their own subjective experience of reality, people are bound to also have their own subjective experience of seeing reality taken out of context. All the film is trying to do is allow the viewers to find meaning that relates to their experience of reality.