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Godfrey Reggio (born March 29, 1940) is an Americanmarker director of experimental documentary films.

Life

Born and raised in New Orleansmarker, Louisianamarker. Reggio co-founded La Clinica de la Gente, a facility that provided medical care to 12,000 community members in Santa Femarker, and La Gente, a community-organizing project in Northern New Mexico's barrios. In 1963 he co-founded Young Citizens for Action, a community organization project that aided juveniles among the street gangs in Santa Fe. In 1972, he co-founded the Institute for Regional Education in Santa Fe, a non-profit foundation focused on media development, the arts, community organization, and research.

Reggio has been involved in many progressive political causes in the United States, including work for the American Civil Liberties Union, co-organizing a multi-media public interest campaign on the invasion of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior. Reggio resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is currently focusing on a narrative-based film exploring the negative impacts of consumerism and fundamentalism on the world. Godfrey Reggio participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2006.

Reggio is most known for his Qatsi trilogy, which includes the films Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqatsi. All of the film titles are taken from the Hopi language; Koyaanisquatsi meaning "life out of balance," Powaqqatsi meaning "life in transformation," and Naqoyqatsi meaning "life as war." In 1995 he directed the short feature entitled Evidence that featured, like the Qatsi Trilogy, a soundtrack composed by his friend Philip Glass. Also, he has directed a documentary Anima Mundi. Reggio spent fourteen years in fasting, silence and prayer, training to be a monk within the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic pontifical order, before abandoning that path and making the films.

Quotations

Source: Godfrey Reggio in Essence of Life, documentary film available on the DVD edition of Koyaanisqatsi

  • About the Qatsi films: "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."


  • About the computer: "The utopia of the technological order is virtual immortality. Hithertofore only ascribed to the gods, to the divinity. Now we have a new pantheon, the computer sits in the middle of it, the computer not being a sign, is the most powerful instrument in the world in that it produces what it signifies, it produces this globalization, in that sense it is the highest magic in the world, and something we are all in admiration of."


  • About the creation of art: "In terms of the feeling of the piece, I cant think about what people are gonna think about it, what are the critics gonna say, I’m trying to bring some resolution, and realize that myself. It’s a struggle; it’s a process that gets us this. It’s not like, I do write a scenario, and I do have a point of view, but at a certain point the words have to just disappear off the page as the image and the sound become that which you are responding to and it tells you how to shape it, it speaks to you, you're trying to stay in touch with it, which you’ve helped to create."


  • About the relationship of man to environment: "What I’m trying to show is that the main event today is not seen by those of us that are living it, who see the surface of the newspapers, the obviousness of conflict, the social injustice of the market, […] but to me the greatest event or the most important event perhaps in our entire history, nothing comparable in the past with this event, is fundamentally unnoticed, and the event is the following: the transcending from all nature or the natural environment as a host of life for human habitation, into a technological milieu, into mass technology as the environment of life. So these films have never been about the effect of the technology, of industry, on people, it’s been that everything, politics, education, the finance structure […] the culture, religion, all of that exists within the host of technology. So it’s not the effect of, it is that everything exists with-in. It's not that we use technology, we live technology."


  • About the relationship of man to technology: "I think Einstein said that ‘fish will be the last to know water.’ My film is premised on the idea, the tragic feeling, that humans will be the last to know Technology. That’s technology with a big T, not all the gadgets that we call technology, but Technology as the very terra firma."


Filmography



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