The way Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson make films is an amazing feat on its own. They spend years researching and traveling to different countries to capture the most impressive locations on the planet. “Baraka” dazzled audiences in the early ’90s, and now they have returned with “Samsara.”
There are plenty of films that people say that you have to see in theaters. Usually they are big blockbusters because even though personal televisions are becoming more impressive, they can’t match the intensity of a theatre experience. More than “The Avengers” or “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Samsara” must be seen on the biggest screen you can find.
Fricke shot this film on 70mm, which allows for the highest quality in picture and is necessary to fully experience this movie. Like “Baraka,” “Samsara” is told without a story, characters or narrations. They present you a series of images and moments, and they are all you need.
The word samsara comes from a Sanskrit origin representing the wheel of life. Throughout this film, you see birth and death in all sorts of lifecycles, from the lasting accomplishments of ancient structures to the miniscule lifecycle of recent technology achievements.
Watching the destruction of these things by nature or man is fascinating because they are presented without judgment. Plenty of people from around the world stare right at the camera but don’t give away their secrets. Their eyes say everything and nothing. The film plays like a day through an art museum. All of the images are captivating, and their mere presence create their own narrative.
Enough can’t be said about how gorgeous this film is. Every moment is something that has never been seen before. Even if the theatre isn’t playing the film in 70mm, the digital transfer is faithful to the visuals’ epic poetry.
“Samsara” is easily one of the best films I’ve seen this year and the only film from this year that I want to go back to see in a theater with a new group of people to see what they took out of it. It’s a film that generates discussion designed to be as rich as the film you just experienced.