How entertaining? ★★★☆☆
Thought provoking? ★★☆☆☆
27 August 2012
This a movie review of SAMSARA.
A dictionary definition of ‘samsara’ is “the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound”.
For fans of BARAKA, director Ron Fricke has used a similar template: create stunning imagery to capture the planet in as beautiful and distinctive a way possible. For those wondering if this is going to be just a collection of National Geographic-esque iconography, he and his team go deeper with SAMSARA. Observations are made on consumerism and loneliness, as well as animal treatment and prostitution. Politicising the striking visuals is very welcome. Having said that, if we were in solely exquisite travelogue territory, that would mostly be enough here.
Shot over five years and visiting 25 countries, we are shown vitality as well as decay. The eye of the filmmakers is fantastic – angles, composition, footage speeds and movement, mirror the choreography of the human body. From monks and a baptism to robots and landscapes. Rather than a tight narrative, there is a thread connecting each subsequent sequence. Not always completely attention holding, SAMSARA though must be experienced on the big screen to appreciate the epic canvas.
Slightly forgettable, but perhaps another watch will make the photography indelible?