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SAMSARA stares at Asian temples, African tribesmen, and chickens bound for slaughter with the same blank eye. --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
The world SAMSARA gives us is strange and beautiful, and in places disturbing, but it also seems manageable, even in its vastness, and perhaps too easily consumed through beautiful images. --A.O. Scott, New York Times
Top Customer Reviews
"Samsara" (2011 release; 99 min.) is a movie in a similar vein as the previously mentioned "Koyaanisqatsi", bringing powerful and at times stunning visuals of our world. The film was made over a 4 year period in over 20 countries, and when I saw it this weekend in the theatre, I was nothing short of amazed of what I saw. I witnessed images I never thought I would see, none more so than the footage of the gathering of hundreds of thousands Muslims gathering in Mecca, brought in stunning visuals, including some time-lapsed footage. Wow, just wow. But there is a lot more. Beware, there are scenes in the movie that are not for the weak of heart, including a number of consumer-oriented scenes (too hard to explain in words, you'll have to see it for yourself). I enjoyed this movie from start to finish, and it rolled by in no time.
As in any of these types of documentaries, the music plays a significant role, since there is no dialogue. The soundtrack is quite nice, mostly by now 62 yr. ambient musician Michael Sterns but it's not quite at the same level of Philip Glass's memorable music in Koyaanisqatsi. But it's a minor quibble. This movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, 2011, and I don't know why it has taken a year to reach the movie theatres, but better late than never. This movie is MILES away from your standard Hollywood commercial fare, but if you are in the mood for something different, "Samsara" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED,
There is no narration...just one image bleeding into another - of both the sacredness of life and its opposite. Although quite a few of these images are familiar to us....they are photographed in such a stunning way - with such depth of field - that they feel fresh again. Examples would be architectural long shots of Gothic Cathedral interiors with multi-colored, perfect stained glass windows, the Hall of Mirrors of Versailles lit by chandeliers, a gorgeous shot of Bryce Canyon National Park, a widescreen view of dozens of ancient Indonesian temples in a lush background of green, or time lapse photography of night Los Angeles with its sparkling lights and streaming cars. Yes...it is truly similar to "Baraka", done by the same cinematographer - but I actually prefer "Samsara". It moved me more profoundly.
Yet, there are troubling - even terrifying images of what mankind is doing to our earth - the reckless creation of enormous rubbish piles of discarded electronics, the mechanized slaughter of mass numbers of chickens and cows in agribusiness, the frightening journey of miners who must hand carry sulfur out of a pit of hell, the senseless distribution of modern guns to the remotest regions of the planet. Alas, the pictures that disturbed me the most were ones in which hordes of people are wearing the same brightly colored uniform, doing the same task over and over again...from Chinese factory workers to Hispanic prisoners. Totalitarianism...or a brave new world.
This is a film that will make you think, and perhaps most important, make you choose. What environment do you want to live in?
And those that have a lot materially and those that don't. It's shot at 65mm then processed onto 4k digital. The opening shots of a lava eruption both day and night shots are simply stunning. There are some disturbing shots that have to do with slaughter of chickens and pigs so keep this in mind. There are tender shots too so do not despair. The breadth of imagery is so rich, powerful and really unforgettable it will enrich you 4.5 stars
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The only movie I enjoy more than this one is it's predecessor, Baraka.Published 1 day ago by Janu Turzo Vanier
Too confusing for me, like visual moving collages. Many people love it. Found it to mostly be about India and 3rd world countries with the similar atmosphere and spirituality of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Chitta