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Naqoyqatsi, or Naqoyqatsi: Life as War, is a film which could be described as an experimental documentary, although not a straightforward documentation of reality, or an art film[1]. It is the third and final film of the 1983-2002 Qatsi trilogy written, directed, and produced by Godfrey Reggio, and edited by Jon Kane. The three films of the trilogy have musical scores by composer Philip Glass, but no commentary or speech. The music is more in the traditional orchestral tradition than much of Glass's work as a familiar doorway to images so disconnected from the familiar world. One instrument, the cello played by Yo-Yo Ma, plays a single line running through the entire piece. Some unconventional instruments are used in addition to traditional ones, including a didgeridoo and an electronically-created Jew's harp[2].

Naqoyqatsi focuses on society's transition from a natural environment to a technology-based industrial environment. The name of the film is a Hopi word (written properly as naqö̀yqatsi) meaning "life as war". In contrast to the first two parts, 80% of Naqoyqatsi was created from archive footage and stock images, manipulated and processed digitally on non-linear editing (non-sequential) workstations and intercut with specially-produced Computer generated imagery. Reggio described the process as "virtual cinema"[2]. The World Trade Center, very near the studio, was attacked on 11 September 2001 during the making of the film, which had an impact on the film and convinced those making it of the importance of its subject[2].

Those involved with the project agree that Naqoyqatsi is best experienced rather than described[2].

There was some controversy over the production process after the film was released on DVD. Since most of the archive and stock footage used in the film were shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, portions of the film were horizontally stretched to accommodate the wider aspect ratio used in the cinema and in the DVD transfer.



According to Reggio, the film has no screenplay, per se, but three movements (like the movements of a symphony) with different themes[2]:

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