Ben Oliver

Banner image for Powaqqatsi


A parasitic way of life.
05 March 2015

The second in the experimental Qatsi trilogy: a series of documentary montages without dialogue.

Powaqqatsi suffers from poor sequel syndrome, not something you’d expect for such an experimental piece of work. Reggio struggles to make an impact without cinematographer Ron Fricke behind the camera, and in a film that leans so heavily on visuals this is a problem.

Most of the things I liked about the first instalment1 are gone, leaving us with a mildly interesting set of images set to a Philip Glass soundtrack.

I’m surprised that I could have such different reactions to what are at least outwardly two very similar films. Whilst the first film transfixed me, this one lost me almost instantly. The ‘wow’ factor is gone from this sequel and as a result one can’t help but get itchy feet.

Powaqqatsi is competent, but its concept requires more than just ‘OK’ footage.