In my opinion, of course!
And only including films that I've seen.
Hardly in order after the top fifty.
Samsara is a word that describes the ever turning wheel of life. It is a concept both intimate and vast - the perfect subject for filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, whose previous collaborations include Chronos and Baraka, and who, in the last 20 years, have travelled to over 58 countries together in the pursuit of unique imagery. Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation that will transform viewers in countries around the world as they are swept along a journey of the soul. Through powerful images pristinely photographed in 70mm and a dynamic music score, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of the nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.
Cool feature-length adaptation of Madonna's "Ray of Light" video [THIS HAS BEEN A JOKE ABOUT TIME-LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY. THANKS FOR READING.]
While just as visually and technically awe-inspiring as Baraka, Samsara feels much more anthropocentric, which diminishes that feeling of universality contained in its predecessor. Still, for someone who does not usually search out documentaries, Fricke's two masterworks, coupled with the recently watched Bestiaire (thanks for putting it on the radar, Marcissus), have got me craving more non-narrative and lyrical films. I'm looking at you, Qatsi trilogy.
While undeniably beautiful, this film left a bad taste in my mouth. Samsara is a series of images, cut together in fairly rapid succession, taking the viewer on a “global” tour of the “cultures of the world”. Some images are meant to be purely aesthetically beautiful (which they are), some images are meant to be confrontational. But as these are just images, without context, and in the absence of any explicit narrative, the meaning comes from montage, and I did not care for that meaning.
Yes, there is confrontation, but there is also exploitation and exoticization. Unlike (from what I hear) Baraka, Samsara concerns itself mainly with humans. The near absence of white people, except for a few shots from…
Ron Fricke’s first film in twenty years, Samsara, is another bold and dazzling explosion of images from around the world chronicling the progression of life and interconnectedness of the human race. Those familiar with Fricke’s stunning Baraka will know what to expect from his latest non-narrative globetrotting odyssey that took five years to make and explores human life on five continents.
Shot on 70mm film you’ll be hard pressed to find a more visually resplendent cinematic treat for the eyes. It is a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of unforgettable images that threaten to overwhelm the audience in their beauty. The colours are eye-poppingly vibrant, the textures tactile and it contains some truly breathtaking time lapse photography. As a work of visual…
Whoa! What a truly inspirational movie! I was totally blown away!
My boyfriend described it as a "big fuck off PowerPoint" but even he was blown away by it.
I have so many question, I wish there were subtitles for each image so I knew where it was or what was happening. On the other hand, that could ruin the film's beauty.
It really sucks that with all the beauty that is shown in the film, the only thing that I can relate to in Samsara are the moments that take place in Costco, and the moment that takes place in the burger joint.
Samsara falls victim of a lot of the same problems as Baraka, but I would say that its success's are bigger than Baraka. Pretty much every location that was visited in both films is better shot in Samsara. The Mecca sequence in particular stands out as an example of this. It is really unfortunate then that Samsara strays into the heavy handed category near the end of the film. All the gun stuff is eye rolling, as is…
Grasping at the coattails of his previous masterwork Baraka, Director/Cinematographer Ron Fricke achieves limited success with Samsara. The cinematography is still dazzling, and the tonal work is remarkable, but Samsara seems like it constantly wants to be *about* something, about sending some message, negating what (I believe) made its predecessor so special: using the camera to capture a common humanity and illustrate our interactions in a shared home. Samsara's point is too often unclear, and altogether too scattershot to be effective. It's certainly ambitious, but ultimately it's to its detriment.
Also, I'm using this as an excuse to urge everyone to watch Baraka because it's so great.
"Some great imagery, but ultimately feels meaningless, and isn't a very cohesive piece."
I feel like I don't know anything about our world after watching this amazing documentary. I feel like I am a bit wiser now.
Samsara is breathtaking. The cinematography is so stunning and gorgeous. It is well-shot and really effective. The music is also amazing. Samsara not only managed to deliver the beautiful side of the world but also displayed the opposite side which is haunting and disturbing.
It is so stunning that the entire movie doesn't even include a single word. No dialogue at all.
In the end, I would say Samsara is a visually striking documentary which is definitely worth your time.
Pretty tacky editing. Really good images, but might as well been a photo book. Aims high in terms of meaning but misses the mark most of the time. Gives some good glimpses at spirituality, technology, consumerism and life that you usually don't see if you're living in the first world.
Still mesmerizing, but not as subtle as Baraka or as coherent, and there are one or two repetitions as well. Perhaps moments where they have wanted to go back and 'do it right'.
Cool imagery and all, and I mean REALLY cool, some of the most beautiful imagery I've ever seen, but Samsara still ended up giving my a cold taste in my mouth. I mean, it wasn't boring or anything, I had my eyes hooked the majority of the time, I just felt a little underwhelmed. Some of the imagery just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the film, either, like that very odd scene of the office worker putting clay on his face. It was just a bit too surreal, and not exactly what I expected.
What?! And also wow. There was no point during this film where I didn't feel completely naive.
As non-narrative films go, this one is really stunning for its gorgeous photography and entrancing juxtaposition of images. It is not a typical story with plot or character. It is a more of an experience, a guided meditation. Let’s start with the title. Samsara is a Sanskrit word which literally translates as "a wandering through.” In Eastern religion/philosophy, it formally refers to a passage through many states of existence that are involved in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, creation and destruction. Samsara depicts the experience of our seemingly chaotic world, the splendor and the suffering, and the agitated state of mind through which we perceive it.
The film begins and ends with Tibetan monks working on a mandala;…
A rational interpretation might deem this flick to be a zen if somewhat boring few hours of beautifully shot footage. I don't know though, I reckon if there were ever a movie shot through God's eyes this might be it. I felt like this film captured both the arbitrary meaninglessness of life's rhythms and the transcendence of it's symponious beauty. Puke maybe but hey, my affinity to existence was reestablished and that's got to be worth something even if I am pulling shit from my overly sensitised ass. I doubt I'd feel the same way if I watched this again but in my memory I will always have been Budhha for five minutes~~
In my opinion, of course!
Some of the greatest camerawork of all-time, in my opinion.
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