Samsara Blu-Ray & DVD
Samsara is available to pre-order now, on DVD and Blu-Ray. The DVD and Blu-Ray come in a single pack in the UK.
Pre-order from Amazon using the links below
Samsara is a nonverbal film described by the makers as a "guided meditation". The film uses very high quality images, scenes of nature and mankind to stimulate the viewer. The film contains no plot or actors, although there are several performers in the film. Samsara is Ron Fricke's 2011 follow-up to Baraka.
This review is based on a single viewing of Samsara from the World Premiere in Toronto. It is very likely to change a little as I watch the film again (and again probably). Darren Lambert, October 2011.
Samsara is different to Baraka, as Ron Fricke told me himself. But it has the same spirit. Samsara has the same exquisite picture quality, emotion evoking landscapes and people, timelapse sequences, fast paced editing, and emotional music.
Samsara is more about people than Baraka. It is less spiritual than Baraka. It is more urban than Baraka. If you like Baraka, you will probably like Samsara.
Samsara starts quickly with a traditional Balinese dance. Quite the contrary to the slow start of Baraka. Several sequences play before the titles let you know that the intro is over.
The content of Samsara is varied. With a definite emphasis on people, what people have done, what they do and what has happened to people.
Shots are cleverly intertwined. When watching a sequences that seems to show an abandoned house full of sand, I didn’t realise when the next sequence was a house form New Orleans, with a car stuck between houses, and mud inside the homes.
Samsara has a sense of humour. There are three memorably sequences where people laughed at the premiere, and I think this will be the same for most audiences. And of course on the flip-side there are very serious sequences filmed inside several abattoirs. These sequences are likely to be a source of controversy for viewers, just like the battery chicken farms from Baraka were. Chicken factories are again included in Samsara. I suspected that many people, myself included, will question that if these images seem are hard to watch, should we really continue to eat meat?
There are definitely touches of Ron Fricke’s earlier films. Time-lapse sequences of car headlights at night are remaniscent of Koyaanisqatsi. Whilst from Chronos, the light creeping across St Peters, and the tide from the top of St Mont St Michel are beautifully re-created. A sulphur mine is also featured, that seems familiar to the mine in Powaqatsi, but I don't think it is the same mine.
Samsara gives me a big feeling that we as humans are all part of a massive circle, whether we like it or not. And everyone plays their part of that circle.
Circles also appear in other themes of the film. People's need to recycle is featured, especially that of the poorer nations of the world.
From the darkness of reflection comes an amazing sequence from within a prison. The orange overall wearing inmates perform an amazing routine in the exercise yard. Tough inmates watch from behind bars. I later found out that the inmates are from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, in the Philippines. Their performance is mesmerising, and I am sure that a small part of their display re-enacts the Kecak dance seen in Baraka.
Samsara was made 19 years after Baraka, and the world has changed. One musical piece that stood out was that of a hip hip track, fitting the visuals perfectly.
Just like in Baraka, war is featured. We see weapons being manufactured.
We also see, just like in Baraka, the Western Wall of Jerusalem. This time however, the people are shown more up-close, which is a running theme in Samsara.
Perhaps the finest wide angle sequence is that of Mecca. Whilst Mecca was included in Baraka, the sequence in Samsara is bigger and better. Very close details of those praying. As the sequence ends the shots get wider, and wider giving away the huge sense of the celebration in a way probably never seen before. How the team manage to get permission to film in this way shows their talent as negotiators as well as filmmakers.
A re-occuring theme in Samsara is that or cycles, repetition, or as Ron Fricke wrote many years ago - The Wheel of Life.
Samsara is a beautiful, guided meditation of the people of the world. I highly-recommend that you try and see it on the big screen before it goes to DVD and Blu Ray.
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Images are © Copyright 2011 Magidson Films.
Behind The Scene Images
Images are © Copyright 2011 Magidson Films.