Samsara: A Stunning Filmic Meditation on Life Across the World
Now imagine that same camera got more ambitious and decided to travel the world -- 25 countries over the course of five years -- invading solemn Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and immense, fly-infested garbage dumps in the Philippines. It perched on a shoulder of a factory worker mechanically stuffing cabbage dumplings in China, floated face up under the florid domes of European cathedral ceilings, and watched the pilgrims melt into an undulating mass on the floors of a temple in Mecca. It partied with bouncing, vinyl bikini-clad, saccharin-smiling prostitutes in a brothel in an nameless city, and sat on a plastic bench with a swarm of obese patrons at a fast food restaurant as they stuffed their faces in time with an Indian drum beat.
This is just a snippet of the Samsara experience, a near two-hour immersion in life on earth in its many shades and shapes.
Filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, who co-created the also-wordless, image-driven, mostly religious-themed Baraka in 1992, are behind this hypnotizing visual masterpiece, which might be viewed as a higher-definition, modernized sequel to its older brother. It was first released a year ago at the Toronto Film Festival, but has just been released more broadly this summer. The opening at the Coral Gables Art Cinema on Friday, September 21 will mark its Florida premiere.