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March 25, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Samsara

Directed by Ron Fricke

Samsara, literally meaning “continuous flow”, is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth within Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön, Jainism, Yoga and Taoism. For its filmic namesake, director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson (of Baraka fame) reunite to “search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives”. with such beautifully shot, enigmatic images of the globe, Samsara is the most magnificent piece of art at the cinema right now. Photographed entirely in 70 mm film, Samsara is a beautiful marriage between evocative cinematography and music.

Despite its simplicity, a narrative of sorts emerges after about ten minutes, with single threads of seemingly disparate shots—from sacred congregations to wonders both man-made and natural—coming together to sew a very vivid tapestry. By relieving the film of a voice-over, Fricke removes Samsara from the traditional documentary genre and lets the audience interpret the film as they will. By not telling us what we’re seeing, we’re left to decide for ourselves. This is where de Francisci’s haunting score prospers. It embellishes the images; it is a dialogue—telling you what to feel rather than what to think.

As I write this, I’m still not sure if Samsara praises our evolving connection with the world and each other, or damns it. And that’s the true beauty of this film: the ambiguity of its message, and thus the scope it offers for interpretation.

4/ 5

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