Directed by Ron Fricke
The new film from the director of Baraka indeed reflects its name; Samsara is a Sanskrit word meaning “flowing,”or “journeying,” and in Buddhism refers to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth — passing through states of existence.
In that same spirit, Ron Fricke’s new epic, filmed over five years in 25 countries in extraordinary 70 mm clarity, is alternately powerful, beautiful, trite, redundant, disturbing and provocative.
The film opens with a long sequence of gorgeous nature and travel shots unfolding into one another. It’s stunning photography, but after a while feels like a series of elaborate screen savers; that’s how jaded this writer has become to high tech imagery.
However, the images gradually begin to weave a disturbing, unspoken narrative of overpopulation, animal cruelty, robotic conformity and life struggle. Gasps of wonder give way to groans of despair… how can such magnificence coexist with so much pain?
Sacred earth, disaster zones, industrial complexes and natural wonders are all part of our earthly existence, but seeing them in such large-scale living color is not for the faint of heart. Whether or not it is outweighed here by the beauty, viewers will have to decide for themselves.
Opens in LA August 31
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