Film series speaks for itself

Nicole Capozziello

A new film series is taking place at Lawrence – one that definitely won’t be confused with anything else.
The “Films for a New Consciousness” series began Fri., April 14 and will run through mid-May. The films all belong to a category their presenter Ben Kraemer aptly describes as “new-age documentary.”
The thematic films consist of images and film footage set to music without a supporting narrative.
For those unfamiliar with this genre, which began with Godfrey Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi” in 1981, Kraemer describes the films as a combination of National Geographic magazine and the film “Brazil.” However, like the films themselves, this is up for interpretation.
Kraemer believes that the films’ strength lies in this exact lack of definitude. “The films manage to convey a rich message without words – a message that can be interpreted differently by everyone,” said Kraemer.
In fact, the tagline on the film series posters is, “Movies where your thoughts become the dialogue.”
As a junior environmental science major, Kraemer originally thought to show the films as part of a project.
Though he ended up completing an alternative project, he still wanted to present the film series. “They are films that really impacted my life,” said Kraemer, who discovered this unique genre a few years ago.
In addition to each film’s own theme, which ranges from technology to bird migration, Kraemer believes all of the films convey a strong environmentalist message.
Because the films include footage from all over the world, Kraemer also believes that they inspire their viewers with a desire to travel.
Kraemer has presented the film series in order of their date of release, beginning with “Koyaanisqatsi.”
“Koyaanisqatsi” is a Hopi prophecy meaning “life out of balance,” and centers on the apocalypse.
The second film, shown Mon., April 16, was “Chronos,” created by the other main director in this genre, Ron Fricke.
As one might expect from the title, “Chronos” deals with the theme of time, as well as the subject of natural versus manmade monuments.
The third film in the series is “Powaqqatsi,” meaning “life in transformation” and is Godfrey Reggio’s follow-up to “Koyaanisqatsi.”
This film, which is being shown Fri., April 20, conveys the message that Western civilization is living at the expense of Eastern civilization.
The next film presented in the series, “Anima Mundi,” is about the animal kingdom. Ron Fricke’s “Baraka,” a word meaning “blessing” in many different languages and focusing on spirituality, follows this film.
“Microcosmos” deals with insects while “Winged Migration” is predictably themed around birds.
The “Films for a New Consciousness” series concludes with “Naqoyqatsi,” meaning “life as war.” It was made in 2002 and centers around technology, an increasingly dominant force in our society.
Like the films themselves, however, words can only go so far. Experience “Films for a New Consciousness” yourself in Wriston at 7:30 p.m. on the following days.
A discussion session follows each film.”Powaqqatsi” Fri., April 20
“Anima Mundi” Tues., April 24
“Baraka” Mon., April 30
“Microcosmos” Fri., May 4
“Winged Migration” Mon., May 7
“Naqoyqatsi” Wed., May 9