‘Samsara’ is a meticulous, beautiful documentary of the core of humanity

  • SoundOnSight
Samsara

Directed by Ron Fricke

USA, 2011

Halfway through Samsara, a pair of heavily tattooed young people, a man and woman, are shown on camera. The woman is staring directly at the camera, as do many of the people highlighted in this documentary. The man’s shaved forehead, however, is bowed so we can see one of his many bits of body art, a tattoo crowning the front of his head, reading “Methodical.” It’s fitting that this word is featured so prominently, even in a shot that winds up lasting about 15 seconds. Samsara, Ron Fricke’s follow-up to the 1992 film Baraka, is nothing short of meticulous, a 100-minute plunge into our modern world and our fractured sense of reality.

Samsara is more a visual tone poem than a typical documentary. It’s similar to nature films shot in IMAX (this was shot on 70Mm but is being presented digitally), except
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