Life in Transformation
Directed by Godfrey Reggio
Music by Philip Glass
Po.waq.qa.tsi (from the Hopi language, powaq sorcerer + qatsi life) n., an entity; a way of life, that consumes the life forces of other beings in order to further its own life.
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.
Where Koyaanisqatsi dealt with the imbalance between nature and modern society, Powaqqatsi is a celebration of the human-scale endeavor the craftsmanship, spiritual worship, labor and creativity that defines a particular culture. It’s also a celebration of rareness – the delicate beauty in the eyes of an Indian child, the richness of a tapestry woven in Kathmandu – and yet an observation of how these societies move to a universal drumbeat.
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.
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.
Several of Powaqqatsi’s images point to a certain lethargy affecting its city dwellers. They could be the same faces we saw in the smaller villages but they seem numbed; their eyes reflect caution, uncertainty.
And yet Powaqqatsi, says Reggio, is not a film about what should or shouldn’t be. “It’s an impression, an examination of how life is changing”, he explains. “That’s all it is. There is good and there is bad. What we sought to capture is our unanimity as a global culture. Most of us tend to forget about this, caught up as we are in our separate trajectories. It was fascinating to blend these different existences together in one film.”
To be certain, Powaqqatsi is a record of diversity and transformation, of cultures dying and prospering, of industry for its own sake and the fruits of individual labor, presented as an integrated human symphony – and with Philip Glass’ score providing the counterpart, performed with native, classical and electronic instruments, its tribal rhythms fused by a single majesterial theme.
Directed by GODFREY REGGIO.
Music Composed by PHILIP GLASS.
Produced by MEL LAWRENCE, GODFREY REGGIO, LAWRENCE TAUB.
Executive Producers: MENAHEM GOLAN and YORAM GLOBUS.
Music and Soundtrack Produced by: KURT MUNKACSI.
Music Conducted by MICHAEL RIESMAN.
Directors of Photography; GRAHAM BERRY, LEONIDAS ZOURDOUMIS. Edited by IRIS CAHN, ALTON WALPOLE.
Associate Editor: MIROSLAV JANEK.
Written by GODFREY REGGIO, KEN RICHARDS.
Unit Directors: MARCEL KAHN, ALTON WALPOLE.
Associate Producers: MARCEL KAHN, TOM LUDDY.
Dramaturgical Consultants: WALTER CHAPPEL, PHILIP GLASS, JEFFREY LEW.
Project Coordinator: SHARON FENTIMEN.
Research Director: RAY HEMENEZ.
Associate Cinematographer: BILL ROSSER.
Title Linguistic Research: DR. EKKEHART MALOTKI.
First Assistant Cameramen: ED GUTENTAG, MURRAY VAN DYKE.
Sound Recordists: BOB BIELECKI, CONNIE KIELTYKA.
Assistant Editors: GAY BROWNING, ANNE BRUCE, CLAIRE BUSH.
Location Scouting: MARCEL KAHN, MEL LAWRENCE.
Location Manager: JEANINE MORET.
Location Coordinator: GAY BROWNING.
Technical Director: ALTON WALPOLE. IRE
Coordinator: STEVE GOLDIN.
Post Production Facility Manager: BROOKE TUTHILL.
Scenario Advisor: MARCEL KAHN. Creative Consultants: WALTER BACHAUER, CYBELE CARPENTER, DENNIS JAKOB, NICOLE LEWIN, TONY PRICE, BRADFORD SMITH.
Title Design: PAUL PASCARELLA.
Aerial Photograp hy: GRAHAM BERRY, LEONIDAS ZOURDOUMIS.
Steadicam Operator: LEONIDAS ZOURDOUMIS.
Associate Technical Director: MURRAY VAN DYKE. Still Photographer: NICOLE LEWIN. POWAQQATSI Sculpture: JEFFREY LEW.
Assistant to the Producers: JEANINE MORET.
Assistant to the Director: NICOLE LEWIN.
Post Production Facility Design: NEIL BOCKMAN, ROBERT PALMER.
Video Research: STEVE GOLDIN. INTERNATIONAL PRODUCERS: FRANCISCO SALOMON ALVAREZ, DIETRICH BATISTA, MIA DUNFORD, MOHAMMED GOHAR, NADER GOHAR, ITZHAK KOL, BRIGID SNOW-CHESNEY, PREM BASNET, MANDEEP KAKKAR, SHYAM BENEGAL, CHRISTIAN ZERTZ, JACQUES KAHN.
Recording Engineer/Associate Music Producer: DON CHRISTENSEN.
Ambient Sound Effects and Additional Recording: BOB BIELECKI, CONNIE KIELTYKA.
Synthesizer Programming and Sound Design: JEFFREY RONA.
Production Supervisor for Euphorbia Productions: RORY JOHNSTON.
Contracting and Administration: DAN DRYDEN.
Technical Advisor and Consultant for African Music: FODAY MUSA SUSO.
Technical Advisor and Consultant for South American Music: BERNARDO PALOMBO.
Presented by FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, GEORGE LUCAS.