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Powaqqatsi, or Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation, is the 1988 sequel to the experimental 1982 documentary film Koyaanisqatsi, by  Godfrey Reggio. It is the second film in the Qatsi trilogy.

Powaqqatsi is a Hopi word meaning “parasitic way of life” or “life in transition”. While Koyaanisqatsi focused on modern life in industrial countries, Powaqqatsi, which similarly has no dialogue, focuses more on the conflict in third world countries between traditional ways of life and the new ways of life introduced with industrialization. As with Koyaanisqatsi and the third and final part of the ‘Qatsi’ trilogy, Naqoyqatsi, the film is strongly related to its soundtrack, written by Philip Glass. Here, human voices (especially children’s and mainly from South America and Africa) appear more than in Koyaanisqatsi, in harmony with the film’s message and images.


Godfrey Reggio : “It’s not that we use technology, we live technology. Technology has become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, so we are no longer conscious of its presence. So what I decided to do in making these films is to rip out all the foreground of a traditional film—the foreground being the actors, the characterization, the plot, the story—I tried to take the background, all of that that’s just supported like wallpaper, move that up into the foreground, make that the subject, ennoble it with the virtues of portraiture, and make that the presence.”

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