Directed by Godfrey Reggio, Powaqqatsi is the sequel to Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi and the second film in the Qatsi trilogy. This is one of the few, if only, Cannon movies in the Criterion Collection. It’s also the only Golan and Globus released film with a Phillip Glass soundtrack. In fact, Glass also traveled to the locations with Reggio so that he could get a feel for the music that the movie needed.
The name of this movie comes from a term Reggio came up with that means “parasitic way of life” or “life in transition.” While the original film had a focus on modern life in industrial countries, the sequel focuses on the conflict in Third World countries between the old ways and how life has changed after the spread o industrialization.
From men carrying gold up and down a mountain in Brazil to images of villages, islands, religion, people in motion, traffic and the intrusion of advertising, you get the feeling that man is just taking up space on a planet that doesn’t need us, or as Roger Ebert wrote, “Reggio seemed to think that man himself is some kind of virus infecting the planet — that we would enjoy Earth more, in other words, if we weren’t here.”
Reggio wasn’t fully on board with using the latest in movie technology considering that his theme for the film is finding a way to return to basic life. However, he realized that technology was ingrained into our way of life and that it would allow him the best format for sharing his philosophy.
You can watch this on Tubi.