Directed by: Ron Fricke
Running time: 96mins
Released: January 14th
A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.
Samsara is a tough movie to review. No, that’s not true, to express my feelings about. Yes, that’s closer to the truth of things.
Samsara is not, strictly speaking a movie. Nor is it an documentary. Rather it is an experience. A movie, shot on the rarely used, but beautifully detailed (especially here on stunning blu-ray HD), 70mm Todd-AO format, that aims to show you the world beyond the boundaries of country and belief.
It expresses unto us a wealth of experience, wonder, beauty, confusion, pain and aching. But it does not set out to show us how empty our lives are, but rather of how full they could be.
Starting with day break, we go through the world, and many of its views – volcanoes, temples, belief, nature, man’s triumphs and indeed our shortcomings. It’s heavy-handed in parts, contrasting people packed into underground trains with rows of battery hens, their heads sticking out bewildered while their bodies are trapped until they do their work. It’s not subtle, but blatant or not, it’s message is hard to miss.
While not a movie for everyone – I can imagine the majority of cinemagoers would feel bewildered and lost at the events, random and sprawling – but that’s ok. It should be a personal thing. And it often is.
Birth, existence and death are all in here. From every perspective. And it is really quite beautiful. I’ll not lie, I wanted to get onto a plane the moment it was over and just see the world and the people in it. The pain, the joy, the ugly and the beautiful.
But isn’t that a good thing? If a movie can make us want to broaden our horizons, to make us want to see what is on our doorsteps then it should be celebrated.
Approach with caution by all means, but let it wash over you – a special mention too must go to the soundtrack which, like the movie is varied and changeable, but rarely less than wondrous – and you’ll leave feeling like you’ve seen and experienced things that may never come your way in life, but to have seen them – even on a screen – and to know they exist? That may just be enough…