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Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
Balinese Tari Legong Dancers,
Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi,
Puti Sri Candra Dewi
In this cinematic concert, mesmerizing images are plucked from everyday reality, then visually altered with state-of-the-art digital techniques. The result is a chronicle of the shift from a world organized by the principles of nature to one dominated by technology, the synthetic and the virtual. Extremes of intimacy and spectacle, tragedy and hope fuse in a tidal wave of visuals and music, giving rise to a unique, artistic experience that reflects the vision of a brave new globalized world. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
In the hustle and bustle of a chaotic world, we often don't take the time to stop and really look at all the beautiful things that tend to pass us by unnoticed. It is Godfrey Reggio's aim in `Naqoyqatsi' as it was in his previous `Koyaanisqatsi' and `Powaqqatsi' - to focus our attention on all the artistry inherent in the shapes, forms and patterns that make up our universe. His film is a succession of images, some of them derived from nature (clouds, ocean waves), others from Man (buildings and bridges), and others from computer-generated fantasy. These he filters through his observant camera eye, state-of-the-art processing and ingenious editing to create a cinematic tone poem. The element that most separates `Naqoyqatsi' from Reggio's earlier works is the much heavier reliance on camera trickery and CGI effects here. For the most part, Reggio has moved away from nature as his subject and towards the cyber realities of the current age. Thus, the altered emphasis in form seems not merely appropriate but thematically valid as well, as Reggio examines a world in which nature has been largely eclipsed by computer technology.
At the end of the film we are told that `Naqoyqatsi' is a Hopi word meaning, essentially, `war' and `violence.' I'm not sure, though, that Reggio has really earned that title with his film. True, he does include a few shots of mushroom clouds, of street riots, of violent video games, but they hardly account for the majority of the images we see. Perhaps it is the clash between nature and technology that he is referring to here, but the title at least as defined at the end - still seems to fall a bit short of the mark.
Still, Reggio is often able to find poetry in even the most disturbing of images. For instance, there's an amazing shot of a trio of crash test dummies performing a macabre, yet strangely beautiful slow motion `dance' in a simulated airplane crash. It is but one of the many unforgettable images in the film.
Enhanced by the haunting music of Philip Glass, `Naqoyqatsi' offers a dazzling kaleidoscopic view of the world, a visual tour de force for the aesthetically inclined.
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