In reading most of the blog entries, I guess I'm a little different than some in that I thouroughly enjoyed this film. So much so that I went home the night after we watched the first half in class and watched the rest online with my roommate who showed me some clips from Baraka, another Ron Fricke film that is very similar to Koyaanisqatsi. With some help from IMDb and Wikipedia (yeah thats right) I learned that the imploding building sequence (which was one of my favorite scenes) was done near St. Louis. It was a housing project called Pruitt-Igoe built in 1951. The filming was done during it's demolition only 25 years later, which occured due to high crime rates, poverty, and issues with segregation (the projects were racially divided).
"The high-profile failure of Pruitt-Igoe has become an emblematic icon often evoked by by all sides in public housing policy debate..."
That's a quote from Wikipedia (again, yeah...i know...). But regardless of my sources, I think the immense scale of the failure of this project - its demolition only 25 years after being built, the negative effects it had those who lived there, the fact that it did little to help anyone - and the fact that humans were (and ARE) able to build/cause such things says a lot. So this is certainly an important part of this film. And to play off of what Matthew talked about below, this scene has strong visual correlations to other scenes in the movie aside from what I just mentioned. To me, the buildings somewhat resembled the huge rock walls and canyons seen early on the film. Obviously the common theme here is that no matter what it is or how natural or man-made it may be, we have the ability to destroy it.
Of course this opens up an entirely new debate: are we destroying or creating? Well I'm sure no one is reading this by now, so I won't get in to it. This is just a part of the film I thought to be very interesting and meaningful. But then again, the whole thing was great.
This film was seriously amazing and inspiring to me. it portrayed exactly the issues that we need to be looking at today and in a way that plainly and directly illustrates the effects we have on our planet and ourselves as a species. Pretty crazy stuff. And far, far more exciting than Al Gore standing in front of a giant Powerpoint presentation.
Look for Samsara, due out in 2009. Another one from Fricke, filmed in the Middle East this time, supposedly will have a lot of time-lapse and be based on the same concept as the previous films.