Samsara (2012)

Samsara (2012)

2012 | PG-13 | 102 Minutes

Drama | Documentary

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industr...

Overall Rating

9 / 10
Verdict: Great

User Review

  • Samsara cyclically embellishes the world’s cultural differences through arresting imagery. Life and death. Construction and destruction. Peace and war. Our world is what we make it. What we choose to mould it. A naturally formed canvas of endless possibilities and consequential uncertainties.

    Sporadic cultures in variance, populate lands far and wide, resembling otherworldly realms. Fallen empires remain built upon the bones of its civilisation. The Pagan Kingdom. Ancient Egyptians. Ottoman Empire. Coexisting with the organically designed wonders that preserve the enchantment of Gaia. Antelope Canyon. Epupa Falls. The Aiguille du Midi. Assorted faiths enshrouding the minds of millions, offering pilgrimage and solitude. Intimidating Catholicism haunting the halls of St. Peter’s Basilica. Followers of Islam swarming Al-Masjid al-Haram. The tranquility of Buddhism isolating Thikse Monastery. Humanity seeks guidance from faithful teachings to provide insight, hope and an afterlife. Immortality devised to offer eternal escape from the endangerment our world shuns upon itself. Hurricane Katrina. Kīlauea volcano. Mont Blanc. Lands of perilous terrains, and natural disasters of formidable stances. Tests of nature.

    The death toll rises, yet civilisations continue to increase their growth rates. Metropolises constructed from the roots of capitalism. Shanghai. Dubai. Paris. Heightening the abundance of consumerist traits within each middle-class family. Eastern industries manufacture so that Western retailers can purchase. Western armed forces attack so that Eastern nations can defend. The Mursi, a Nilotic ethnic tribe whom reside in Ethiopia, likened to a sub-urban US family. Both equipped with the same weaponised firepower produced by the same corporation. Inexplicably separate cultures, exercising identical human traits. To serve. To protect. To survive.

    The creatures that roam wildly in the rural horizons, now raised in farming prisons for man to feast upon. Chickens plucked from the life that was bestowed upon them. Cows drained whilst chained to the mechanisations of human demand. Mothering pigs shackled to the ground, its spawn absorbing the necessary nutrients before slaughtered. Treatments juxtaposed by correctional facilities of those who chose to commit crimes. Individuals with freewill. The inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre joyously dancing to forget about their atrocities, whilst farmed creatures are unwillingly residing in hellish environments.

    Impoverished citizens of Quezon City scavenging Payatas Trash Dump that wealthier individuals help contribute everyday. The favelas of São Paulo outgrowing the modern city that once was. Humanity’s self-purpose for reproduction, now capitalised through the blur between instinct and entertainment. Dolls manufactured to appease the lonely. Women, accompanied by a number, solemnly dance before being purchased. Objectified, likened to a disposable product.

    What have we become?

    Fricke’s barrage of 70mm footage isn’t just artistic non-narrative guided meditation into the unfathomable reaches of humanity, both spiritually and physically. It’s a stark reminder from a neutral perspective. Look at what humanity is becoming. We are bustling cells residing on the skin of a greater soul that yields life. Open your eyes and witness the abandonment we are causing ourselves. Race, faith, wealth, power. We are segregating human existence into prisons of self-destruction, in an endless cyclic cyclone of annihilation. Empires fall, yet civilisations grow. Endangered species become extinct, yet man continues to hunt. Man prays to deities, yet the world continues to hurt. For you see, Samsara isn’t just a window into life. Samsara isn’t just a cathartic path to enlightenment. Samsara is life.