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Koyaanisqatsi Life out of balance is a documentary directed by Godfrey Reggio which consists mostly of slow-motion and time-lapse footage, starting with a cave painting, progressing to footage of various natural environmental phenomena such as waves and cloud formations, and ending with footage of man-made events including traffic formations, bombings, and desolate urban landscapes. The documentary has no dialogue other than the Hopi Indian word "koyaanisqatsi," chanted over a score by Philip Glass; interpretation is left to the viewer, although the meanings of the word (including "crazy life," "life in turmoil," "life disintegrating," "life out of balance," and "a way of life which calls for another way of living") seem to offer clues.

  • Produced & directed by Godfrey Reggio
  • Cinematography by Ron Fricke
  • Edited by Alton Walpole & Ron Fricke
  • Music by Philip Glass
  • Music director & additional music: Michael Hoenig
  • Original release: 1983
  • Running time approx. 87 minutes

Followed by the sequels Powaqqatsi and the short Anima Mundi. Reggio is also working on the third installment of his Qatsi series, Naqoyqatsi, which as of October 2001 remained unfinished for lack of funds.