Like its predecessor Koyaanisqatsi, Reggio's wordless eco-doc is visually stunning, but undermined by a fairly serious flaw. Where Koyaanisqatsi looked at the madness of First World civilisation, and ended up criticising the very technology that enabled the film to be made, Powaqqatsi (Hopi for a parasitic life force) directs the same technology at the Third World. The result is even more dubious than its predecessor. Once again Philip Glass supplies the soundtrack, infiltrated here by choirs and Third World instrumentation; and where Koyaanisqatsi was edited into a progressively steeper climax, this has little sense of rhythmic flow. At best the message is a fairly obvious criticism of First World domination of the Third, and at worst a hippy celebration of the Dignity of Labour.
Godfrey Reggio, Ken Richards
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