Friday, August 23, 2013

Movie Review - Samsara (2012)

Samsara, a term from Buddhism, literally translates to "continuous movement" and is also referred to as "cyclic existence".  Ron Fricke, the filmmaker behind the glorious Baraka, uses sumptuous cinematography along with time lapse photography to create a film about the patterns of human life on this planet.  This piece is the product of five years of shooting and shot in twenty five countries.

Samsara, much like Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka, creates a message without use of story or dialogue.  This film demonstrates how the power of images and music alone can move the viewer's mind.  70mm film (IMAX format) was used for every shot, a feat that hasn't been accomplished in cinema in 15 years.  

The key to interpreting the movie is staying aware of the juxtaposition of shots.  One example could be: shots of a slaughter factory at work, then crowds of customers purchase animal products through the grocery store, cuts to overweight people eating copious amounts of fast food, and finally to sex dolls created in a factory.  Meat made for mass consumption.  The ongoing theme is the cycle of human history and life: from religion, to war, poverty, and technology.  All aspects are captured and sewn into a visual tapestry of actions repeated in different places and times.

Samsara is available for stream on Netflix.

Rated PG-13 for some disturbing and sexual images


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