Samsara

Last updated by Darren on 16 October 2014

Samsara monks

Samsara Blu-Ray & DVD

Samsara Blu-RaySamsara is available to pre-order now, on DVD and Blu-Ray.  The DVD and Blu-Ray come in a single pack in the UK.

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Samsara Trailer available to watch online

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.  

Review

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

Images are © Copyright 2011 Magidson Films.

Behind The Scene Images

Images are © Copyright 2011 Magidson Films.

The film has absolutely not been put on hold. They are now in post production and have edited a big part of it.

I spoke with Mark Magidson, the producer, within the last few months.
He told me they had just returned home to the USA, with principal filming complete. They were then concentrating on production.
I agree it will probably be 2011 or 2012 before a release, however it seems the primary filming is already complete.
As Samsara is not a Hollywood movie it will come to fruition in a different way, and may take a long time.

Mark Magidson (producer) email me recently and refereed to the film as Samsara. I think they will stick with this name, or maybe they will change it to something else when they release it.

We have to be patient, it's not a Hollywood movie with a big budget, etc.
It's a film, that takes a long time to make.

Before opening Samsara to the public, I think this movie should be made available online for everyone to watch and spread around. Give your movie to world I say. Thank you for Baraka, it was a blessing.

Daniel, I agree with you that the film should be made available for everyone to watch and spread around. I feel that having a streaming online version of Samsara will not shake foundations and will compromise the film's cinematic integrity. Fricke should not compromise on the 70mm viewing. Ron has blessed us with his films. Shouldn't we at least reimburse him by supporting the film in theatres for all of his hard work?

If you have seen any of these films in a theatre then you will know the extra sensory experience that this brings.
It doesn't matter how big you TV at home is, it won't compare to the BIG screen.
I will attend a theatre showing as soon as is possible.

Samsara will cost millions of dollars to make. The costs have to be recouped, theatres and DVD are the easiest way to achieve this.
Without the money, the films would not exist, and we would not be talking about this now.

I just saw Baraka for the first time last year and it blew me away in every aspect. Artistically this movie is 1 of the best, every scene to me was beautiful and the synchronization of music just flows with everything. I am only 24years old and have shared this with my family. Thank you for opening our eyes to some of the most beautiful places in different corners of the world. I catch alot of double meaning on the way this film was made and presented through scenes and I believe I got the picture. I cannot wait for Samsara to be released and I will look forward to it. Thank you guys so much and Bless you. - Chris.

When will Samsara be ready to watch?

Shooting is not yet complete. The finished film will probably be ready in 2010 or 2011.

will it be launched in 2009? I hope so...

Unlikely

Shooting is still under way. 2010 is looking more likely.

The other week was suppose to be the longest Solar Eclipse in the 21 century. The whole experience was said to have lasted over 8 minutes, Central Asia getting the best look. We in the states, unfortunately could not view this great spectacle.

Anyway, I was wondering (and secretly hoping) that Ron Fricke was able to capture this phenomenon on 70mm for Samsara!!

Any updates or news about this?

I am not sure if the team was able to shoot the eclipse.
I know they have just completed the last leg of major shooting, which included a visit to Europe.

I saw Baraka some years ago in 70mm at the Arlequin movie theater in Paris, and loved it.
I have long bought the DVD, and will get the blue ray version as soon I will have HD video equipment.
Meanwhile I am waiting for the release of Samsara, hoping that it will be showed in 70mm.

IS A MUST for this film!! Even "Bluray.com" gave this a "reference" rating. Stunning detail, blacks levels...fantastic sound (DTS-HD Master Audio) It'll blow away your DVD copy, just gorgeous.

Can't wait for Samsara too!!

is there any news to hold on to and keep on waiting?

your work is nothing like Ron's or what it's all about! Your way off of what he's tryin to bring across... Your work or your webpage shows mostly fashion!

Many Western practitioners of Buddhism think of Nirvana as the end goal, and that it is a release from the cycle of rebirth (either envisioned as a cessation of everything, or as eternal bliss). This isn't quite right. Nirvana or Enlightenment is an awakening to reality as it really is, not an escape from reality. To be truly enlightened isn't to pass away from the cycle of rebirth, it is to be fully conscious of the process, and be an active protagonist in it, rather than simply being swept away by it (not that one can "control" it, but to be aware of the illusion of control). Pretty much, Samsara is the yin, nirvana is the yang. The same "indescribable whole", different facets of it.

Ayubowan( "May you live long"),

I am one of the original Partners of Samsara Retreats International that intend to set up several world wide retreats that will allow people of higher intellectual and spiritual needs to gather several times a year to learn from each other and to become better human beings with spiritual and intellectual development as two desired objectives.

It will embrace a spirit of tolerance and sharing and will be strictly non denominational.

I would encourage anyone interested in my vision to join us in a) Creating the Vision for the Retreats. B) Becoming a Partner of the Global Network of Samsara Retreats C) Becoming a member of the Advisory Board to ensure an environment of learning without any close mindedness or bigotry.

"MAY ALL BEINGS BE WELL AND HAPPY"

Anil De Silva

I'm a Baraka fan and am really looking forward to seeing Samsara when it is released. One line at the end of the description of the Act's said "Long Live Samsara". My understanding of Samsara is, more to do with suffering. In The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying "Beaten helplessly by the pounding waves in the infinate ocean of Samsara". Just thought I might mention that and that I understand it to be more "caught up" in our own wheel of life because of unfinished business or our strugles. Dont know if this makes any sense to you that may read this.

Dear Ron Fricke,
You have got to be my soulmate!:) Thank you for blessing us with Baraka and I look forward to watching Samsara!!
Sending you lots of love,
Sevhan

Hello,
You have mentioned in your opening sentence that the word "Samsara" is Tibetian on orgin. This is a Sanskrit word and would be apt to give the origin to India and its ancient civilization.
Thank you
Krishnan
December 27th 2005

maybe you should put some info when Samsara will be relased??? we are waiting so long time now!

I watched Baraka and really fall in love with non-verbal documentary.
It depicts our real love with supreme, for which every one is anxious of.

"Everybody is looking for KRISHNA.
Some don't realize that they are, but they are." -george harrison

Baraka is one of the pivotal film releases of the '90s.And thus one cannot wait for the release of Samsara... But when is it coming????How long must we wait....may this recieve the praise that Baraka had and may it come out soon,real soon.
Go on,Ron, How long do we have to wait really ????

Hello! As Marcel from Switzerland asked you before, please tell us, when will Samsara be released (month/date)? Can't wait! Regards, Amber Vriends

We currently do not have any details about the release of Samsara. As soon as we have some details this website will be updated, and a news letter sent to all members.

Why is it taking so long for the release of Samsara? Baraka was released back in 1994 I believe. That is 12 years ago!! Anyone know why. There was a comment from Ron Fricke back in the mid nineties about Samsara, but have not heard or seen anything yet. Why 12 years?

Could you please direct me where to find more info about that project of your's? It sounds interesting.

I hope to see Samsara soon.

Dear Ron,

I have been trying to get your contact address as my company- Lowe Indonesia wants to use shots/footages from your movie "Chronos".
Could someone please let me know who I should contact and the contact address ?
Really appreciate for any help.

Thx, Bimoyadi

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Samsara Blu-Ray & DVD

Samsara Blu-ray and DVD
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