Last Sunday night I finished watching “The Qatsi Trilogy,” thanks to Criterion’s lovely set. “Koyaanisqatsi,” 1982, “Powaqqatsi” 1988, and “Naqoyqatsi,” 2002. Qatsi is a Hopi word meaning “life,” but richer in, meaning that the English. The compound words used for the titles are defined at the end of each movie, and ideally one should see the movies without those definitions in mind. One should simply watch and listen, for the music by Phillip Glass is equal partner with the images put before one by director Godfrey Reggio and his cinematographers and editors. Reggio desires for his viewers to watch and listen and find their own meanings in what is presented.
To the east of my family’s four acres in Sawyerville was the enormous yard of Umbria Plantation with its old raised cottage sitting way back from the highway.
The front gate to Umbria Plantation was about a quarter of a mile east of the house where we lived, where I live now. You’d go through the brick gates and the driveway would dip down before rising to the house set back behind two enormous magnolias. Where the driveway began to curve to the left you would look straight up the walk to the wide steps leading from the ground up to the wide veranda that ran across the front of the house.
I have learned that Martin's Store, which has been the centerpiece of Downtown Sawyerville, is to be demolished to make parking space for a new business that is to be opened. I will be sorry to see it go, but I suspect that it has declined to the point that it could not be salvaged.
The 2011 release of The Tree of Life ran two hours and eighteen minutes. The extended cut released on DVD by Criterion on September 11, 2018, runs three ours and eight minutes, some fifty minutes longer. Herewith, some initial thoughts.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of what I consider to be the greatest movie ever made. Most assuredly it is the most important for me.
Thursday March 28, 1968. I’m working away at my job in the documents acquisitions section of the Columbia University Libraries. My phone rings. Tom. “I’ve just got 2 tickets to an invitational screening of “2001, A Space Odyssey” at 1 o’clock this afternoon. Can you get off?” I hollered out to my boss, and when he heard the news he immediately said yes. I hopped on the subway and headed to Times Square, grabbing a hot dog somewhere along the way.
The other evening as I was eating supper at my dining room table I realized how much the view before me revealed about my life.