Powaqqatsi - the Hopi word means "life in transformation", or "a parasitic life" - is an exalted global vision juxtaposing utterly different ways of life, ancient and modern. There are long, epic sequences on hard manual labour, awesome and troubling. Powaqqatsi is a journey towards the origins of labour as a social phenomenon. It is also a majestic travelogue to some of the most breathtaking landscapes of the world: Alps, waterfalls, aerial views, fishermen. The journey proceeds to religious experiences, of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam. Beauty and squalor are juxtaposed. There are montages of commercials, television, and entertainment. Yet a sense of spirituality transcends them all.
The film is music-driven. The music of Philip Glass is rhythmic - there is a big orchestra - and choirs - there is a majestic grandeur - and epic heroism - a strong pulse - the music is very versatile - there are voices of children - there is train music - there are passages for the flute - and passages driven by percussions.
The colour is deep and good in this fine print.