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
Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »
This experimental film looks at the world and more specifically the effect man has had on the landscape and the environment. Without narration, the film shows the world in a pristine condition and untouched: blue skies, beautiful landscapes and endless vistas. The man-made world is much less appealing. Essentially a montage using a variety of film techniques to provide a visually stunning montage of images.Written by
The film cuts abruptly to a helicopter shot looking down at skyscrapers, then to night-time satellite images of a city, then to computer components. In fact this is pre-integrated circuit and pre-microcomputer technology, probably from an IBM mainframe or DEC PDP minicomputer. One element of older computer technology that can be clearly seen are twin panels of ferrite core memory, a couple of inches square, probably containing no more than 8k bytes of memory each. See more »
About an hour into the movie, the camera operator is reflected in the elevator's glass window as the elevator passes "between" floors while shooting the escalators. See more »
[from the Hopi language]
n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life out of balance. 4. life disintegrating. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.
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I first went to see this film almost by accident. Some friends were going, & it happened that Philip Glass was due to be in the cinema for an after-screening interview. I wasn't a huge fan of Philip Glass, I'd never heard of Koyaanisqatsi or Godfrey Reggio: but what the hell, I went along, expecting some sort of nicely-filmed but vaguely-boring worthy documentary.
An hour & a half later, I was - and I'm having to try very hard to find adjectives here - in fact I'm failing. It was The-Thing-That-You-Can't-Even-Tell-Someone-What-It-Is. Completely transfixed, transported, for 90 minutes of my life.
This film has no dialogue. It has no actors, apart from everyone & everything that Ron Fricke's camera touches. It has no plot, apart from just the simple, complex, unfolding story of the world.
The truth is, of all the films that people feel have really made an impact on their lives - and you only need to read through this lengthy thread to see how many of those people there are - this is one of the hardest to communicate to someone who hasn't actually seen it. You can compare it, perhaps, to things they might have seen - but there aren't that many to compare to. It has a kind of poetry on a whole different level from, for example, Man with a Movie Camera. The only things that spring to mind for me are Orphee or Last Year at Marienbad, but these are completely different kinds of movie, and even people who don't like them might be totally taken apart by Koyaanisqatsi.
Sure you could - rightly - use phrases like "breathtaking cinematography" or "unforgettable images". You could praise the music (which really opened my ears to Philip Glass). You could point out, as many have done, how the film made you look again at the world, & at your own place in it. Or you could try to relay its "environmental" message - and there are people, especially those who take any implied criticism of our species' waste and cruelty as a kind of personal insult, who will not like that message.
But none of these things would come close to capturing what makes this film so special. Like trying to explain "red" to someone who's never seen colours. You have to experience it. If possible in a cinema, sitting right down at the front, completely immersed in the screen and its images.
I know I'll never forget the first time I saw it. You might not either.
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