San Francisco Performances presents "Philip on Film," Koyaanisqatsi screened with live accompaniment by Philip Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F.
Sunday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $18-40
Also, "Shorts" (short works by Godfrey Reggio, Atom Egoyan, Peter Greenaway, Shirin Neshat, and Michal Rovner) on Monday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m.
Though the not-so-still-life pictures in Koyaanisqatsi are impressive, the film's power stems from the union of Reggio's images and Philip Glass' soundtrack. Originally composed for a live audience at the theater, the music -- hypnotic and baroque, with repetitive keyboard motifs, blasts of shining brass, and ethereal choral episodes -- adds a startling layer of humanity to the movie, essentially rounding out its theme: If we care, there's still time to right the scales.
By today's hyperreal standards, the cinematography of Koyaanisqatsi seems almost quaint. Meanwhile, the daily news arguably proffers more unbalanced imagery -- Dubya's war on terrorism, Ashcroft's beat-down of civil liberties, open season on the planet's natural resources -- and the Internet and biotechnology have reshaped the human experience into something barely imaginable when the film debuted 19 years ago. Yet its message is still a call for awareness and empathy, the same emotional connection Glass embodies when marrying live music with celluloid story.