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Life Out of Balance, as Nature Wars With Man's Destruction

November 08, 1990|MIKE BELL

There are those among us film appreciators whose preferences lean toward specific genres. You could be among the many who go in for action, fantasy, sci-fi or drama. But the video selection this week is for one of the rarest breeds of film lovers: the very few, the very proud--the art film devotee.

"Koyaanisqatsi," directed by Godfrey Reggio, is a non-narrative film of unrelenting beauty: Each frame is a work of art in itself. In addition to the visual splendor, the viewer is treated to a hauntingly rich score by accomplished composer Philip Glass.

Like most works of art, there is a weighty message being projected here. Reggio's film, the title of which is Hopi Indian for "life out of balance," gets its extremely important point across by first lulling us into a state of serenity with slow-motion or time-lapse images of both the power and intricacy of nature, then abruptly cutting to the dizzying images of man's destructive influence over the very planet that sustains him.

The cinematography is undoubtedly the main attraction of the film, but the ever-changing nature of Glass' score is not only a key element but an essential one. His synthesized sounds are flawlessly synchronized with the subtleness and confusion of Reggio's visuals.

"Koyaanisqatsi" is certainly a treat for the eyes and ears. But, more importantly, it is a thought-provoking lesson for us all, considering the precarious position that our fragile home is in.

"Koyaanisqatsi" (1983), directed by Godfrey Reggio. 87 minutes. No rating.


"Fright Night" (1985), directed by Tim Holland. 105 minutes. Rated R. Scary, funny and intentionally campy, "Fright Night" involves a teen-ager who thinks his new next-door neighbor is a vampire. Chris Sarandon makes a wisecracking, smug resident Dracula, and Roddy McDowall plays "The Great Vampire Killer" with verve. A perfect mix of comedy and chills.

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