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Powaqqatsi

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Our second lesson in the Hopi language, a little more difficult in application than the first (Koyaanisqatsi). "Life in transformation," the advertising poster succinctly suggests, but the postscript on the film itself goes off in another direction: "An entity, a way of life, that consumes the life forces of other beings in order to further its own life." Hmm. Godfrey Reggio's images, which could have served as a photo of Lassie on a flash card saying un chien, do not really bring it into focus one way or the other: anonymous brown-skinned people lugging sacks of mud on their heads in slow motion; saried women beating their laundry at river's edge in slow motion; turbanned men conducting a herd of camels into the desert in slow motion; etc., etc. (If everything in slow motion were run at normal speed -- and almost everything is in slow motion -- we could have got through the movie in twenty minutes instead of the hour and a half it actually takes.) The argument, whatever it is, is presented very prettily, but the effect of this is not unlike Carlos Castaneda or G.I. Gurdjieff as read aloud by Tanya Roberts. Music by Philip Glass. (1988) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated G

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