Qatsi Trilogy of Films plus SB Premiere of Visitors

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents an epic, day-long film experience featuring the visionary Qatsi Trilogy of films, plus the Santa Barbara premiere of Visitors, Sat., Jan. 25 at the Arlington Theatre; Admission FREE for all students


  • Day of film screenings featuring the work of director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass
  • The Qatsi Trilogy, plus the Santa Barbara premiere of Reggio’s latest film, Visitors
  • Films include Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance (1982), Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation (1988), and Naqoyqatsi: Life as War (2002), plus Visitors (2013)
  • Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures
  • Sat., Jan. 25 / First screening at 1 p.m.; last at 8 p.m. / Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., Santa Barbara
  • General public: Day pass: $25 (includes all four films) / À la carte: Qatsi films: $10 per film / Visitors film:$15 (An Arlington facility fee will be added to each ticket price.)
  • Admission FREE for all students with valid ID
  • Tickets/Info.: (805) 893-3535, or Arlington Theatre at (805) 963-4408,

“Reggio’s images haunt the viewer, accompanied by one of the most startling and original soundtracks ever written.” The New York Times 

“A stunning tour de force… A powerful emotional experience.” Variety 

Experience The Qatsi Trilogy – three groundbreaking, visionary films by avant-garde director Godfrey Reggio and legendary composer Philip Glass – plus their newest film collaboration, Visitors, in an epic film event presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures on Sat., Jan. 25 at the Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St.

More than 25 years in the making, the masterful Qatsi (“life” in Hopi) films forged a bold new form of concert cinema. Be transported as astonishingly beautiful and stunning images by singular director Godfrey Reggio unfold before your eyes, accompanied by the hypnotic soundscapes of Philip Glass.

These wordless, moving meditations contemplate the state of humankind in our rapidly transformative – and troubling – technological age. From the ancient to the contemporary, the intimate to the global, the natural to the digital world, this mesmerizing feast for the senses culminates in the newest chapter of the story: Visitors, in its Santa Barbara premiere.

Each of the Qatsi films entered new visual territory by drawing on a unique style to portray its provocative vision. In Koyaanisqatsi, mind-bending time-lapse photography conveys the frenzied pace of modern life, while Powaqqatsi uses slow motion to focus on the visceral details of indigenous life. Naqoyaqatsi delves into digital manipulation, literally reflecting the way in which technology has taken over our perception of the world.

1 PM: Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance (1982, 87 min.)

The first film in The Qatsi Trilogy became a cult classic. Koyaanisqatsi conveys its message entirely nonverbally, through powerful images and sounds. Reggio’s film is a simple but searing vision of an urban society moving at a frenetic pace, detached from the natural environment and overwhelmed by technology, in images at once stark and beautiful, assaulting and compelling. Filmmakers, video artists, photographers and musicians around the world credit the film as a major influence in shaping a new and unforgettable language.

3 PM: Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation (1988, 97 min.)

Reggio traveled to regions of developing nations rarely seen on screen to capture the impact of technological progress on native cultures. Over six months, he and his crew journeyed to a dozen countries, including India, Egypt, Brazil, Peru, Kenya, Nepal and Nigeria, filming ordinary people at work and play, and revealing their complicated relationship with modern changes in their lives, such as cars and high-rise buildings.

5 PM: Naqoyqatsi: Life as War (2002, 89 min.)

Naqoyaqatsi takes us from a world controlled by the beauty of nature to a world dominated by technology and digital manipulation – the hyper-accelerated, globally wired 21st century. Unlike the previous two films, Naqoyaqatsi features little location work, but instead uses a method Godfrey Reggio describes as “image as location.” Created shortly before Sept. 11, 2001, the film is considered prophetic in its depiction of contemporary society.

8 PM: Visitors (2013, 87 min.)

Santa Barbara premiere

Thirty years after Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio – in collaboration with Philip Glass and Jon Kane – creates another stunning, wordless portrait of modern life. Presented by Steven Soderbergh in black-and-white Digital 4K projection, Visitors reveals humanity’s trancelike relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by emotional states, produces massive effects beyond the human species. Visitors takes viewers on a journey to the moon and back again, confronting us with ourselves in the moment we’re living in.

About The Qatsi Trilogy and Godfrey Reggio

The Qatsi Trilogy represents one of the most significant collaborations between a composer and filmmaker in our time. Directed by Godfrey Reggio and scored by Philip Glass, the films made Reggio a major figure in avant-garde cinema and cemented Glass’ reputation as one of the 20th century’s preeminent composers.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Godfrey Reggio spent his teens and early adulthood as a Catholic monk and political activist – roots that deeply informed his later film work. Says Reggio of the Trilogy, “Each film reverses the saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ by offering a thousand images to convey the power of one word. In effect, Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyaqatsi are an effort to rename the world in which we live – questioning what we consider the norms of daily living. …

“Because of the form and the intentional play of ambiguity, the films do not offer meaning or clarity in a conventional sense. They aspire to offer viewers a meaningful experience of the subject, and the meaning of that experience lies in the eye of the beholder.” 

The Qatsi Trilogy and Visitors screenings are presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Media Sponsors: KCSB 91.9 FM and the Santa Barbara Independent.

Ticket options for the general public are a day pass (includes all four films) for $25, or à la carte tickets: Qatsi films are $10 per film and the Visitors film is $15. (An Arlington facility fee will be added to each ticket price.) Admission is FREE for all students with valid ID.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at (805) 893-3535 or purchase online at Tickets are also available through the Arlington box office at (805) 963-4408 and Ticketmaster (

UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks for its major support of the 2013-2014 season.

Pronunciation Guide:

Qatsi: KAHT-see

Koyaanisqatsi: koy-AH-nihs-KAHT-see

(from the Hopi language)

n. 1. crazy life, 2. life in turmoil, 3. life disintegrating, 4. life out of balance, 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.

Powaqqatsi: POH-uh-KAHT-see

(from the Hopi language, “powaq” sorcerer + “qatsi” life)

n. An entity, a way of life that consumes the life forces of other beings in order to further its own life.

Naqoyqatsi: NAH-koy-KAHT-see

(from the Hopi language, each other-kill many-life)

n. 1. A life of killing each other, 2. war as a way of life, 3. (interpreted) “civilized” violence.

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