Samsara

"Excellent"

Samsara Review


Filmmakers Fricke and Magidson take their time making movies: their last film was 1992's Baraka. Over the next decade, they travelled around the world with a 70mm camera shooting scenes on every continent. Compiled together and projected in super-high-definition 4K, this is a staggeringly beautiful movie. But it has no story, no characters and no dialog. You couldn't even call it a documentary, as there isn't an obvious subject. But through clever juxtaposition of the images, the filmmakers have a message for us that's startlingly moving.

As the images wash over us, several themes emerge. Most obvious is the depiction of human rhythms and yearnings, with scenes of monks in Myanmar and dancers in Indonesia cross-cut with Chinese assembly-line workers and a New Orleans library devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This spiritual approach catches the give and take between culture and nature, as we watch epic landscapes reclaiming man-made structures in dazzling time-lapse photography that plays with the light and shadow of the sun, moon and stars. The title is the Sanskrit word for "continuous flow", referring to the cycle of birth, life and death.

There are several moments when the film jolts us with a striking contrast, cutting from luxury to poverty, natural beauty to horrific destruction, a plaintive human face to a fiery volcanic eruption. All of this is accompanied by an expressive, rhythmic musical score composed and/or selected by Michael Sterns, Lisa Gerrard and Marcello De Francisi to reflect both the emotions and the energy of the images.

All of this allows us to interpret scenes on our own terms, including cleverly jarring images like a woman in a burkha standing in front of a billboard of men modelling underwear. But later on, the film becomes much more topical, with a sequence that traces the manufacture, use and tragic results of the global obsession with guns. And another segment traces the mind-boggling scale of chicken and beef production, leading into scenes of obesity and plastic surgery. Yes, humanity is great at building things, but we will also clearly be our own undoing.

Rich Cline



Samsara

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 23rd August 2012

Box Office USA: $2.6M

Budget: $4M

Distributed by: Oscilloscope Pictures

Production compaines: Magidson Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 59 Rotten: 18

IMDB: 8.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Ron Fricke?

Producer: Mark Magidson?


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement