The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.


Koyaanisqatsi: click for IMDB information

Koyaanisqatsi: click for IMDB information

Why, of course, Mr. Alien. I’d be happy to direct you to the one creative endeavour that I think best describes humans on this planet.

It’s a movie called Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance. The title is the first in a trilogy, but you really only need to see the first. To tell you the truth, watching the entire three parts in one marathon event would make you want to vaporize yourself.

It’s a tragedy, a horror film, a black comedy. The music is cool. Sure, there are some spectacular scenes of natural beauty, but the contrast to the madness wrought by we humans is almost too much to bear. I weep at the end. Every time.

You need to watch it.

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From Wikipedia:

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke.

The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explained the lack of dialogue by stating “it’s not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It’s because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live.”

In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means “unbalanced life”. The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology. Koyaanisqatsi is the best known of the trilogy and is considered a cult film.

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Inspired by the Daily Post Worldy Encounters



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30 replies

  1. Hmm..I am intrigued. I think I will look it up. Dunno when I’ll watch it…but I will look it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you are interested. Watch it when you are in a good place mood-wise. It can set you on your butt emotionally.


  3. This is definitely a blast from the past. The music was haunting, piercing, full-on and fit so well. It was a movie like no other for its time. Will be interested to hear if any readers see it now, and what their reactions are!


    • Hi Sammy – I first saw it in a repertory theatre – made for a very dramatic experience. When I was searching today for images, nothing really filled the bill. I realized that stills do not capture the mood, especially without the soundtrack.

      I do hope people let me know if they watch it!


  4. Yes, that would be a great choice!


  5. I was introduced to this film by my father. I have the trilogy and have watched it a couple of times. It is worth watching. i would advocate children watching it in school. It may have an impact on them to realize what humans are doing to this world and to each other and to just stop the madness. My younger brother worked with the producer of this film on this film I believe in some way. I will have to ask him.


  6. I will try to watch it this weekend. It sounds interesting Maggie.


  7. Hey Frankie, let me know what you think? Cheers!


  8. The trailer makes me want to get my hands on it: your comment about your weeping at the end makes me afraid to. Already I feel as if I can’t bear what we’ve done and continue to do to our wonderful planet.


    • To give you an idea of my emotional trigger, I sobbed uncontrollably at the visual of a hungry, wet kitten mewing at the door. It was an ad that was running in the late 70’s.

      I can see where you might have a professional interest in the film from the production and cinematography angle. But, yeah, do we need yet another reminder of our mis-handling of the planet? That’s the million dollar question.


  9. Wow Maggie – – I had no idea what to do with this prompt. You took it in a great direction and now I’m really trying to figure out what age kids this would be appropriate for – – sounds riveting.


    • First of all, GLAD TO SEE YOU! Hope you, your family, and household are OK?
      It’s been a while since I’ve watched it, but I cannot recall any blood, gore, or specific depictions of brutality. Though there are shots of mushroom clouds and explosions and the implied acts of brutality. It will have a very dated feel in terms of dress as well as the techniques used to film in slow and fast motion.


  10. Sounds far too scary for me! We have done some atrocious things to the planet…. don’t think I could sit through a marathon of bad news…


    • I understand, Barbara. I’ve watched it a half dozen times. So I am disinclined to want to watch it again – but is that because I am over-familiar with the film or that I don’t want to watch more of the same atrocity?


  11. Oh wow, Maggie! Do I have your permission to reblog this post on (uh-hum… my) political blog?
    The Hopi Rez is just up the Interstate from us. I’ve been there and have studied Hopi Prophecy and Native American prophecy way back in the 80s. I was working on a book about the environment and all back then. Anyhow, I really want to watch this trilogy.

    I’m afraid we have passed the tipping point, but on the other hand, we can’t just sit around and wait to burn up. And what will we tell our grandkids when they ask why we didn’t stop it? We must strive to make changes, even in the smallest of ways. But looking at every single harm to our planet at once can truly cause ones head to implode!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would LOVE for you to re-blog, Thank you! – and you will be my first! 🙂
    You are not alone as regards feeling we are beyond the tipping point. I compare our environmental situation as if we are on a cable car, the cable has snapped, and the car is hurtling toward the ground. Just waiting for the gigantic smash up. 😦


  13. Reblogged this on Burnt Toast Economy and commented:
    This is my first “reblog” also… 😀 Here we go…



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