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.  


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.

I would like to buy Samsara & Baraka

Ok, what's happend with Samsara? :)

Is there any word about how much longer this film has to go before it's complete?

I'm waiting for "Samsara" with a great anticipation. Dear Ron Fricke, you can't imagine how many fans do you really have all over the world! For a long time your "Baraka" was a highest achievement and masterpiece among the documentary non-verbal movies. Your created a new genre and set a standard in it. Your movies are beyond the time. They are perfect.

When is it out? Please, I need it. Can't live without it ;)

philip glass is one of the best musicans for movies ever!!!

Can someone tell me when will the release be? Approx. date would be great!

According to my internet research, many of the copies of Baraka on Blu-Ray snag at sequence 19 -- including mine -- and will stall the movie until you stop the disk, restart, and search for sequence 20, skipping one of the most memorable scenes in the move. The manufacturer has not responded to my request for another copy. This is outrageous for a $30 disk.

Still no news, but I hope the making of the film is going alright. I don't know if they revealed all of the filmed locations ; I think it would be amazing to see places like Teotihuacan, Deihr El Bahari and such. I truly can't wait to see Samsara, Baraka is one of (if not THE) absolute top movies for me !

First time i saw Baraka 4 years ago.Then during 2 or 3 weeks, i came home, turn on dvd, and wach this masterpice, and every single time i had different filling about it. Sometimes i even forget how to brithe.How i wish to be a part of a film crew, filming samsara!

Just a correction. Samasara is not a Tibetan word. It's a Sanskrit word.

Hi Ron, I would like to get in touch with you on an atmospheric song/soundtrack project of mine. It would be very much appreciated. Thanks and best. Dinesh.

does anybody knows when samsara ist going to be released in germany...

dear all,

just for your information samsara is a sanskrit word which has been used for thousands of years in india.

i dont know how it became tibetan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If this film is as good as Baraka....Guys I can not wait to see it

The Tibetan connection to the word 'samsara' almost certainly comes from the Sanskrit. If I recall correctly, the Buddhist scholar Padmasambava ('Guru Rinpoche' to the Tibetans) brought Buddhism from India to Tibet, where it evolved into what we now call Tibetan Buddhism. I think that the Tibetan alphabet also contains a number of characters from Sanskrit.

As for Samsara the movie, I eagerly await its release and am sure it will be fantastic.

However, I am saddened that in choosing the title 'Samsara', the crew seemed to have paid scant regard to Pan Nalin's movie of the same name:

Released in 2001, it's a beautifully spiritual and sensual movie with a wonderful soundtrack, but not in the non-verbal genre. When the non-verbal Samsara gets released, the two will probably get confused with each other, which will be a great pity for both movies...

Something to look forward in a very special way. A warmth, a fear, a love. We are lucky to people with a vision for what is truly real.

term samsara comes from sanskrit, not tibetan. it is also found in pali, language of the traditional buddhist suttas (sutras). it means endless wandering in different realms of existence until the awakening is attained i.e. nibbana (sansk. - nirvana). samsara is something which should be abandoned and all indian religions agree on that. it represents human slavery to rounds of rebirths which can only cease in total eradication of greed, aversion and delusion (dosa, lobha and moha).

i think that David Helpling & Jon Jenkins would be perfect choice...

The root of the word "Samsara" is indeed Sanskrit. The Tibetan translation of the work is ' Most modern Tibetan scholars, writers, and teachers commonly use the term "Samsara", however.

"Samsara" can be defined as "the cycle of rebirth, the wheel of existence, which arises out of ignorance and is marked by suffering." (not an easy concept to get one's head around!). It is an uncontrolled cycle of birth and death in which sentient beings, driven by unskillful actions and destructive emotions perpetuate their own suffering. "Nirvana" is the state beyond such suffering, when the true nature of the mind is realized. When the true nature of the mind is still obscured by delusion, we call this "samsara".

When Buddha achieved enlightenment over 2,500 years ago, he saw that ignorance of our true nature is the root of all the torment of samsara, and the root of ignorance itself is our mind's habitual tendency to distraction. To end the mind's distraction would be to end samsara itself; the key to this, he realized, is to bring the mind home to its true nature, through the practice of meditation. The true nature of the mind is said to be one of a primordial, pure, pristine awareness that is at once intelligent, cognizant, radiant and awake. One might therefore say that the true nature of the mind is "luminous, spacious, and loving".

It it very interesting that the filmmakers have chosen this concept as the title of the picture. There are many scenes in Baraka that awaken strong emotions and a connection to our humanity through nature and spirit. We also see the some of the harms that many our actions are having on the world and we are left to ponder what "delusions" we may be operating under!

The stunning combination of the visual and auditory in the filmmakers' work has the unique capacity to open the audience's hearts and minds to the mystery, tragedy, and beauty that the world holds. When we personally experience these things unfolding it becomes impossible not to experience some level of compassion and kindness towards one another and, indeed, all living creatures!

Sogyal Rinpoche has some interesting comments on the subject of samsara in the "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying":

"Sometimes I think that the greatest achievement of modern culture is its brilliant selling of samsara and its barren distractions. Modern society seems to me a celebration of all the things that lead away from the truth, make truth hard to live for, and discourage people from even believing that it exists. And to think that all this springs from a civilization that claims to adore life, but actually starves it of any real meaning; that endlessly speaks of making people "happy", but in fact blocks their way to the source of real joy.

This modern samsara feeds off any anxiety and depression that it fosters and trains us all in, and carefully nurtures with a consumer machine that needs to keep us greedy to keep going. Samsara is highly organized, versatile, and sophisticated; it assaults us from every angle with its propaganda, and creates an almost impregnable environment of addiction around us. The more we try to escape, the more we seem to fall into the traps it is so ingenious at setting for us. As the eighteenth century Tibetan master Jikme Lingpa said: "Mesmerized by the sheer variety of perceptions, beings wander endlessly astray in samsara's vicious cycle." "

May these words may be useful to anyone reading them.

Title aside, I am very much looking towards another amazing feature length piece of magic from the team.

I've heard rumors that it shall be released around March of 09'. Can anyone else confirm this?


Its been now two years and still it has no official site to know how much longer are we suppose to wait? Does anybody have information regarding this movie, is it gonna be on any festivals, when and where can i buy it ext ext

Without words to express the inspirational gratification and profound effects Baraka had on my psyche, one can only begin to imagine what Samsara will do to one's perspectives. I only hope a theatrical release will be possible, IMAX maybe. Also, when is Mr. Fricke taking in resume's for a PA...

Just got an email from my friend who is trekking in Ladakh. The film team was there shooting at Thiksy monastery. One of the camera technicians said they were shooting in Philippines, Hong Kong, Ladakh, Burma and China. She got some photos of a sand mandala that the monks made for the project.

Just bought and saw the latest re-release of Baraka in Blu-Ray high definition. Awesome is too modest a word, the 8K digital conversion makes this marvelous film look better than ever except for the initial 70mm premiere in LA and NY. I hope and expect Samsara to be just as terrific.

Does anyone know how long Samsara will be in production and when it is scheduled to be released? I love Chronos and Baraka!!!!!

just want to say that if you have a blu-ray player!! buy the Baraka blu-ray version, its AMAZING!!! lots of extra info on the movie on there as well. peace!

The word 'Samsara' is not Tibetan. It is a Sanskrit word which means "the world around us that imprisons the soul in never ending cycles of death and rebirth until 'moksha' (liberation) is attained."

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Samsara Blu-Ray & DVD

Samsara Blu-ray and DVD
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