Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.
Film Review: ‘Samsara’ is a Film That Will Be Whatever You Want
CHICAGO – It is revitalizing to take a break from traditional cinema, and the new artistic film “Samsara” is a non-linear quasi-documentary and travelogue that is a parade of images contemplating existence and the beauty around us. Who doesn’t need that tonic of meditation every so often?
Filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson are expanding on concepts explored in their previous films “Baraka” and “Chronos,” which also explore non-linear imagery. This film goes all over the world over five years, but mostly focuses on the humanity that strives within it. With the time-lapse view of ordinary events, personhood is reduced to a primal state, one of tribes and animalistic movements. The rhythms and the soundtrack are reflective of these images and create a soothing visual symphony for virtually all the senses.
The film begins with a series of close-ups, faces in compose. There is suddenly movement, dancing and then a series of subjects and images that are from all over the world. 25 countries were visited to view workplaces, rituals, religions and always the mask of the close-up human face. The landscapes, matched movements and wonder of human interaction with their environment is well highlighted. The word “Samsara” also defines the film, it is Sanskrit meaning ‘cyclic existence.’
The film is also fascinated with synchronization, such as humans working together to form visual elements as a multiple fan-like representation of arms or a precise military-like martial arts ceremony with thousands of participants moving the same way. The time-lapse photography of a Muslim prayer service takes on the look of a ant colony – the rhythms of cooperation and scheduling are so precise, that from far away the prayer service looks like a living organism. “Samsara” is whatever you want it to be.
Photo credit: Oscilloscope Pictures