->''"You've never really seen the world you live in."''


'''''Koyaanisqatsi''''' is a 1983 Godfrey Reggio film. There is no obvious plot or story, there are no actors, there is no dialogue. The whole film is just time lapse footage of nature, people, and machines with music composed by Philip Glass. Despite the synopsis sounding dull, the film is mesmerizing. The film starts with beautiful footage of the desert and natural rock formations. From there, human work is more and more evident. The middle section of the film is about, the hustle and bustle of modern life. Towards the end, the film focuses on people of different walks of life. The last sequence is a failed rocket launch in slow motion.

It is the first part of a "qatsi" trilogy, it is followed by ''Powaqqatsi'' and ''Naqoyqatsi''.

If the name sounds familiar, the title song is used whenever [[Series/{{Scrubs}} the Janitor]] delivers a DeathGlare. The pieces "Pruitt-Igoe" and "Prophecies" that were written for this film are probably better known to the current flock of 20-to-30-somethings as the accompaniment to Jon Osterman's [[TransformationSequence transformation]] into [[EldritchAbomination Dr. Manhattan]] in the ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' [[Film/{{Watchmen}} film adaptation]], or from the first ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' trailer. "The Grid", however, is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvZ3DBI1tO8 the best]]-known piece, both visually and aurally. Fans of ''Film/TheTrumanShow'' will instantly recognize [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZXa5id8FXk The Anthem]] from ''Powaqqatsi''.

Reggio's cinematographer Ron Fricke went on to make ''Chronos'' (in IMAX), ''Film/{{Baraka}}'', and ''Samsara'', all of which have obvious similarities to the "qatsi" films.
!! "Tropes out of balance":

%%* TheSeventies
%%* TheEighties
* {{Blipvert}}:
** There is a section where a television screen shows various adverts and programmes but shown in time-lapse. Blink and you'll miss a couple of frames of Thomas Dolby in his famous "She Blinded Me With Science" video.
** The end credits sequence is made up of audio-blipverts that sounds like [=TVs=], radios and telephones all playing at the same time.
* {{Bookends}}: At the very beginning of the movie we see a rocket take off, and at the end of the movie, [[spoiler:it explodes]].[[note]]More subtly, the rocket first seen taking off cuts to a Saturn V successfully launching an Apollo mission; the rocket leaving the launch pad at the end is also a Saturn V, but this is then replaced by the original, doomed rocket.[[/note]]
* CreatorCameo: Producer Creator/FrancisFordCoppola makes an appearance in "Prophecies" as an extra entering an elevator, although this is downplayed by his [[WolverinePublicity nominal contribution to the movie]].
* DeathGlare:
** One scene has people pass the camera in slow motion. Some people give the camera a nasty look.
** The TranquilFury stare from the close-up of the pilot at the end of 'Pruitt-Igoe' also qualifies.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Watch the opening "Serra Pelada" sequence of ''Powaqqatsi'' and try ''not'' to see the people at the gold mine as ants.
* DroneOfDread: Glass's music, at the beginning.
** Led to the RunningJoke on ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' of someone slowly chanting "''Ko - yaan - isqatsi''" every time the music in the film invoked this trope.
* LeFilmArtistique: One of the best examples and one of the few to influence mainstream cinema.
* ForeignLanguageTitle: "Koyaanisqatsi" is a Hopi word meaning ''life out of balance''. ''Powaqatsi'' means ''life in transformation'' and ''Naqoyqatsi'' means ''life of killing each other'' (sometimes translated as ''life as war'').
* GreenAesop: Though the film itself doesn't make it explicit as it is open for interpretations, the translation of the title gives it away.
* {{Homage}}: The Serra Pelada sequence in ''Powaqqatsi'' were an homage to the famous photos taken by Sebastião Salgado two years earlier of the same gold mine.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Again, it's more of a subliminal feeling you get watching it.
** Reggio completely refutes this idea. It's completely in the head of the viewer.
** In an interview on the Criterion Blu-ray, cinematographer Ron Fricke says he believes Reggio intended ''Koyaanisqatsi'' to present a GreenAesop: whereas '''he''' [=[Fricke]=] strove to reveal beauty in ''all'' of the images, regardless of their content. WordOfGod suggests Fricke's opinion presumes CreativeDifferences which did not actually exist.
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: While most of the film has interesting shots, though many find that the scene with the taxiing jets stretches on too long (two and a half minutes, all one shot--the longest shot in the whole picture).
* LostAesop: The film ''doesn't'' make it explicit, but that's part of the point.
* {{Montages}}: An old-school example
* NotSoDifferent: Shots of satellite photos of cities are intercut with circuitry boards. It's difficult to tell which is which.
* OminousLatinChanting: Well, Ominous Hopi Chanting.
* OminousPipeOrgan: During the title track.
* {{Overcrank}}: People walking by, the demolitions of housing projects.
* PopCultureOsmosis:
** In the "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder" episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' reference has a high-speed time lapse of a day in Homer's bedroom when he oversleeps. Later episodes of ''The Simpsons'' have seen more vivid references, including a full parody of Itchy and Scratchy with several images taken directly from the film.
** All of these images are present in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97rakGU8DDM this]] official trailer.
* SceneryGorn: Pruitt-Igoe, in particular.
* ShoutOut: Received one in Music/{{Madonna}}'s [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4tD8dy9Reg video for "Ray of Light"]].
* SilenceIsGolden: A very rare modern instance.
%%* SlowMotion
* SoundtrackDissonance: Particularly at the end.
* StockFootage: Used for the demolition scenes; also nuclear tests, UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, and and the rocket launch(es). The film also had a influence on the look of stock footage as seen in TV documentaries and commercials. [[https://vimeo.com/162039610 This video]] recreated the film's trailer using nothing ''but'' watermarked stock footage!
* StuffBlowingUp: The stock footage above.
* SurrealMusicVideo: The case has been made that the trilogy is best understood as feature-length examples of the form.
* TetrisEffect: When the film was first released in 1983, people who left the theater after seeing it on the towering screen of the Zeigfeld Theater in New York City - ''and'' with Philip Glass jacked up on the speakers - walking out into the NYC streets was a trippy thing, since the viewers had just seen what the traffic and pedestrians were like on a meta-scale. Said viewers were forever changed by the experience.
%%* TimeCompressionMontage
* TimeLapse: Most of the footage.
* {{Undercrank}}: The factory assembly lines and masses of people are sped up, as are clouds in most of the nature shots.