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



[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/koyaanisqats_7774.jpg]]
'''''Koyaanisqatsi''''' is a 1983 Godfrey Reggio film. There is no obvious plot or story, there are no actors, there is no dialog. The whole film is just time lapse footage of nature, people, and machines with music composed by PhilipGlass. 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 [[spoiler: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) and ''Baraka'', both of which have obvious similarities to the "qatsi" films.

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!!! "Tropes out of balance":
* {{Bookends}}: At the very beginning of the movie we see a rocket take off, and at the end of the movie, [[spoiler:it explodes]].
** 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.
* DeathGlare: One scene has people pass the camera in slow motion. Some people give the camera a nasty look.
* {{Documentary}}
* DoingItForTheArt: Aside from Reggio, Creator/FrancisFordCoppola was one of the major backers of the experimental film. While Creator/GeorgeLucas and Golan & Globus backed ''Powaqqatsi''.
* FollowTheLeader: ''{{Microcosmos}}'' and ''WingedMigration'' are both heavily influenced by the films.
* 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, the translation of the title gives it away.
* HumansAreBastards: 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.
* 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.
* OminousLatinChanting: Well, Ominous Hopi Chanting.
* OminousPipeOrgan: During the title track.
* {{Overcrank}}: People walking by, the demolitions of housing projects.
* PopCultureOsmosis: For example, in ''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.
** Recent 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.
* SceneryPorn
** 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 destruction at the end.
** TV documentaries and commercials sometimes use the movie as a ''source'' of stock footage.
* StuffBlowingUp: The stock footage above.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: Believe it or not, time lapse photography was relatively ''new'' and few people ever experienced it at this scale.
* 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.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: And all the better for it.