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.

I sincerely hope the "Transit of Venus" is featured in Samsara. The first phase of the transit of Venus began on June 8, 2004 and the 2nd phase will be completed June 6, 2012.

Baraka remains one of my favorite pieces of work overall. I have the film and soundtrack and continue to enjoy both. SO look forward to "Samsara"! Thank you for your outstanding work! Beautiful to the eye, ears and spirit.

This is fantastic masterpiece! When I was watching "Baraka" I was plunged in something like wondering trance! I was so imressed, that seemed like it was flowing through me like magical emanations! Have no words, just emotions! Thank you for this incredible film!

When and where will samsara be available

When will be the release of the Samsara? Can we expect on one this autumn ?

I've studied sanskrit and I believe that "Samsara or sa?sara (Sanskrit: ?????) refers to the cycle of reincarnation or rebirth in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other related religions." Source: wikipedia for the exact definition. I'm pretty sure the root is Sanskrit.

I check this board frequently hoping for bits of information on the production and eventual release of Samsara. Finally, some details emerge via the Variety article mentioned below. Specifically:
Shooting has begun, and will last 12-14 months
Lisa Gerrard (of Gladiator fame) will be involved in the score

I can't wait.

We are all waiting for Samsara, not seing that it's already here:)
Greetings

I am pretty sure i read on this site last year that samsara was "under production" for few years now and the expected release date was sometime end of 2006 or 2007 ? But now we hear that they just started shooting it ? :(. It would be great if they also post some details about the behind the scene politics and business matters that are delaying this so much. I cant wait to watch it in theatre. I missed Barake on theatre cuz i knew about it too late but the DVD itself just blew me away. i have so far gifted this as a great present to several prople that i know including family and they only came back with repeat viewings and great comments every single time and they thank me. Cant wait to get the HD version.. I will buy a large wide screen tv just to enjoy it. its WORTH it !!

I just saw Baraka and am exstatic in front of such a great work. I cannot say that it is has cinematographic language, instead it speaks the language of the cosmos.
This movie, along with koyanisktasi film and trilogy should be put on a medium and sent to outerspace. They say who we are and how desperate we've become.
Waitinf Samsara.
God bless.

I think Baraka is most beautiful movie i ever saw. For me its almost magical...like journey to other world..ehhh fantastic

Baraka was, and for me continues to be, fabulous. I've watched it many times. I purchase it for selected friends and give it as a celebration of the role of art in life: to find "the big picture" in the picture, as it were. I'm very much looking forward to Samsara.

I cannot wait to see this new film. Baraka is truly and enlightening film that sets high standards for film making and depicts human emotion and self destruction in a short period of time. People do need to see more films like this one.Thank you...

Well for me, Baraka was an amazing journey through countries I have never visited. This is a film that did not only make me want to visit these amazing places, but also revaluate the priorities in my life. It reassured me that beauty is not found in objects, but rather in simple moments such as being able to see the sunrise. After seeing Baraka, and reading the notes on Samsara, I will definitely be looking forward to buying both films. Thank you!

what happened to the savage garden collaboration fricke was working on with reggio? the concept web site is down? anyone? bueller?

Gawd, I love Baraka, if I can find anyone who I respect and know would appreciate this film I make a point to show it to them. It's just breathtaking and I have been awaiting Samsara ever since I heard of it's inception. If anyone knows when to expect the release of this film, PLEASE let me know! I'd greatly appreciate it. Also feel free to add me to your space if you have one....

www.myspace.com/divaceleste

I'm guessing the Savage Garden project is on hold or scrapped, due to Samsara?

Anyone catch the 70mm print of Baraka at the Aero in Los Angeles last weekend?

It was like Haley's comet.

I hope the Samsara movie will have wonderfull soundtrack as Baraka has. I hope Ron will not use any not from Philie Glass that made the worst concept of music ever (!!!!). How can you listen his ugly ...stuff!!?!?! He ruins the movie Kundun with his ugly music (also the movie Hamburger Hill)! The movie Kundun i watch with audio down and put the CD TIBET by Mark Isham that is more perfect. Please Ron dont call Philip for the music of Samsara!!!

BARAKA IS PERFECT, well let samsara be as good..soundtrack is so important...baraka has wonderfull soundtrack
i think lisa gerrard is great choice....

concerning music soundtrack i agree with previous comment. baraka/chronos ost - perfect stuff to hear, but i can`t say in such manner about music soundtrack of "qatsi" trilogy. i simply *do not like* it at all.

Michael Sterns may be involved with the soundtrack. He provided the soundtrack to Baraka and Chronos.

Samsara is not a Tibetan word. It's Sanskrit.

some people here are writing bad about the music of philip glass (and do not write the name correctly - this means a lot).

first, i think you have to respect the music of others like your own taste. second, 12-tone-music is not a simple popmusic - it is minimal classic. very hard to compose and also very hard to understand. i think for some people here it is a must to listen to his music seriously before they prejudge.

otherwise i think, this people cannot understand music at all much less the movies and their messages.

i can`t wait... gimme it:) i am tired to be on the watch almost year:)

I would love to buy an HD version of Baraka and Samsara!

I am having a mixed feeling on the title Samsara. Years ago when I first read The Tibetan Book of The Dead I was introduced to Samsara. This terms describes the cycle of death and rebirth. The rebirth is due to a previous natural life that was not spiritually complete. Rebirth can take the form of a dog, a pig, or even a rat. Nirvana is achieved through a complete life spiritually. A spirit achieving Nirvana will not be reborn and they become free from the chains of Samsara. Samsara being something not desired. My interpretation must be incorrect. Please explain to me the use of Samsara as a title for this movie. Film is a very powerful artform and means of communication. Samsara as described in The Tibetan Book of The Dead is punishment for a life not lead spiritually perfect. Feedback please.

Does anyone know when is the release date for this film? I can't find it yet, so I assume it is not yet out. Thanks,

Bob

Estoy esperando ansioso esta producción. Baraka y Chronos me parecen obras maestras. Seguro que esta pasa a la historia pero ya se esta demorando mucho.
Saludos desde España.

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Samsara Blu-Ray & DVD

Samsara Blu-ray and DVD
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