Samsara


Ron Fricke's Samsara is a peculiar kind of documentary travelogue.    Through truly spectacular 70 mm cinematography, Fricke appears to be taking viewers not on a dispassionate tour of 25 countries and exotic locales but rather on an exploration of authenticity of human existence on our planet. This authenticity -- and its antithesis, the synthetic -- is displayed in dozens and dozens of ways. The film is an extraordinary kaleidoscope of images; the camera's eye is unwavering whether trained on Egyptian sand dunes, the painted faces of African tribesmen or a poultry processing plant in the Philippines. Fricke, who took five years to assemble the images, has not crafted a conventional narrative and there is no dialogue, just a fascinating bed of world and new age music to underscore (not always subtly) what's on the screen. Samsara is the term used to describe the Buddhist belief of unending life and rebirth and often includes the notion of suffering as being man's natural state. Recommended.

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