Koyaanisquatsi’s Portrayal of Human Life
Progressing technology is often seen as something positive and beneficial to society, however that is not always the case. The costs and consequences of innovation through technology are demonstrated well in the movie Koyaanisuqatsi. The movie portrays through music and images the radical changes of human life that come with technology and industrialization and how that affects the sustainability of humankind.
The beginning of the movie uses various types of images and music to illustrate the state of human life before the start of industrialization. The movie starts with an image of a “cave painting” that demonstrates the concept of living in harmony or balance, with one dominant figure ruling over figures that represent people. This image is then wiped away with contrasting scenes of “a rocket taking off” accompanied by slow, but dramatic music. This shows a glimpse of what is considered modern technology that is seen as favorable in society. Soon after, the movie moves on to a series of pastoral images such as “canyons” and other empty vast landscapes. This depicts what nature looked like in its former state, revealing a time when human life was at peace with the environment. The consistently loud and dramatic music that went with the various images emphasizes the significance and great impact of nature. Before concluding the environmental scenes, erosions and landslides are shown, foreshadowing the downfall of the natural world and the beginning of humans altering their surroundings.
In contrast, the rest of the movie strays away from nature and shows images of what is seen as technological advancements and the repercussions that come with it, eventually revealing the more modern and current state of human life. The movie shows images and scenes of man made creations such as “tractors”, “aqueducts” “power lines” and “factories.” These scenes all accompanied by loud, fast and ominous music conveys a...