Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
An essential documentary.
Samsara is basically the same idea but on a global level. Koyaanisqatsi however is the Grand Daddy in this situation.
A titan of visual poetry that is equally pretentious as it is purely sublime. There are moments where Philip Glass' techno orchestra seems to conduct the images and your thought processes instead of it being the other way around. It's a magical experience.
While the messages of the film can be understood from a mile away (purely labeling this as environmentalist propaganda is wildly unfair), there are a handful of moments where the film begs you to think more critically of what you are seeing. Koyaanisqatsi moves through a well thought-out cycle of images that almost paints a sad history of human creation. But where the film is obviously trying to condemn human growth to some extent, there is beauty and something approaching natural design in all of the films images whether they be of open plains or towering skyscrapers.
Speaking of skyscrapers, the sequence in the middle of the film is by far and away the best part. I thinks that's where the heart of the film and its transcendant ideas lay.
Like I said, seeing the film is absolutely essential. If I was ever a social studies teacher, this would be a film I would definitely show students.
Looking forward to Reggio's follow up films.