Naqoyqatsi, the third and final installment in director Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Qatsi’ trilogy, offers a thought-provoking look into the impact of rapidly evolving technology on human life. The title itself translates to “Life as War” and serves as the broader theme explored throughout the film. With its powerful visual narrative crafted from an amalgamation of new and archival footage modified with solarization, digital enhancements, thermal effects, 2-D and 3-D animation, Naqoyqatsi questions if we are really any different from our predecessors or are just victims of an ever-evolving technological landscape that shapes our lives in ways both great and small.
The trilogy as a whole examines humanity’s effect on nature and how it has been destructive throughout history. But where Koyaanisqatsi (Life Out Of Balance) and Powaqqatsi (Life In Transformation) were more hopeful examinations of modern life through ancient eyes, Naqoyqatsi takes this idea even further by suggesting that we have become so entrenched in this cycle of consumption that we no longer recognize ourselves. Our values have become twisted; what once brought us progress has now led us to a point where we can no longer tell the difference between man and machine.
Whether viewed as a music video or an immersive cinematic experience, any viewer is sure to be taken aback by Naqoyqatsi’s mesmerizing images and bold themes. It serves as a reminder that while progress is necessary for growth, it must also come with careful consideration for its consequences – both intended and unintended – on society. We invite viewers to watch this documentary with an open mind to truly appreciate all the nuances that make up Reggio’s masterpiece.