Samsara, the latest audio visual piece of cinema from Ron Fricke & Co is a delightful feast for the eyes and ears. Following in very similar footsteps to Baraka that came before it, Samsara feels much more about circles of life rather than being a world prayer.
The first thing that strikes you is the sheer clarity of the footage. Shot in 70mm its a love letter in some ways to film of old before digital recording pushes through completely. The secondary part is the music. I say secondary because in many ways its so passive and meditative that you almost don’t notice how it utterly sways the emotions for you. It work that kind of magic requires special talent.
Of the images themselves, a lot of the film is spent in religious places and showing off various places that look simply stunning. Some of them look almost otherworldly. I felt that a lot of the film deals with different ways of creating and building a life and also the ending of life too. Some of the most harrowing images I found were the ones of the aftermath of natural disasters. There’s a section involving robotics and sex dolls which is particularly interesting and slightly creepy and there’s also an artistic piece where a man in an office utterly goes nuts covering himself in face paint and throwing things around. The time lapse sections are always the wow moments for me personally and Samsara has two specific build ups for this. One is of a slaughter house and reminds me of Our Daily Bread, the other is the swirling worshippers in Jerusalem. Time-lapse is often used in the film but to me it takes more of a step back to let more sumptuous imagery take the foreground.
Samsara is like a light that shines on all the beauty and all the ugliness of the world as the wheel of life continues to turn around it. It’s fascinating, compelling, thought provoking and utterly unique compared to anything else released recently. I urge everyone to watch this cinematic stream of life and see what it brings out in you.