Koyaanisqatsi contains and unreels some of the most breathtaking images ever committed to celluloid. Translated from the Hopi language, the title means 'life out of balance' and attempts - and very successfully - shows all of man's manifestations, usually in startling close-up but also often sped-up, juxtaposed against our own-made surroundings.
Since Dziga Vertov's 1928 Russian experimental film "Man with a Movie Camera", a few pioneering directors have attempted to show familiar, and not so familiar surroundings in a new and refreshing way. But none so much as the collaboration here between Godfrey Reggio and contemporary composer Philip Glass.
The images are always hypnotic, some unearthly beautiful and when it slowed to its climax, I was so disappointed it had finished. The comparisons between printed circuit boards to conveyor belt manufacturing to highly urbanised street scenes are magical and compulsive. Watch on the biggest screen you can and play the sound through a separate hi-fi or home cinema system.
Glass' music follows and resonates with these streams of visuals - one is the other. With executive producers Francis Ford Copolla and George Lucas, both mega directors of their day, this project has some heavyweight backing.
Koyaanisqatsi was followed by the not-quite-as-compulsive Powaqqatsi, which has a different take on human activity. Do as I did and get the two-film boxset.