Imagine a full-length movie with no story, no actors, just consisting of nothing other than experimental film techniques showing cities, people, landscapes, and anything between heaven and earth. Koyaanisqatsi (Directed by Godfrey Reggio in 1982, produced by Francis Ford Coppola) is just that movie!
Koyaanisqatsi is about shooting everything from spaceship launches, buildings being demolished, people working in giant machines and factories, the busy streets teeming with life much like an ant stack, and things shot from strange angles or fast moving things at slow motion, or slow moving things shot using time-lapse photography. It is a hypnotic, dreamy, fantastic film of just cool film sequences accompanied by music written by minimalistic modern composer Philip Glass.
The movie was shot from 1975-1981 on 35mm film, as well as 16mm film, without any script, just filming whatever would look cool. For instance one of the effects used in the film as described by Wiki.
The time-lapse shot overlooking the freeway in Los Angeles was filmed from the top of a building through a double exposure, with 10-second delay between frames. The first take was shot throughout the day for 12 hours, then the film was re-wound and the same scene was shot at night for 20 minutes.
This movie is about showing nature, mankind, and our society. The title means “life out of balance” or “life of moral corruption and turmoil” or “fragile existence” in Hopi. When Francis Ford Coppola heard about this movie being made, he offered to help promote it and help with getting distribution.
Music written by Philip Glass was recently reused in the Watchmen movie, and has previously been used in several episodes of The Simpsons (as a reference to Koyaanisqatsi).
This movie is highly interesting for anyone into filming landscapes, cities, people, and anything from the ordinary to the exotic.