Samsara (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Samsara</strong> (2011)

(On Cable TV, June 2013) Clearly, my moviegoer’s brain demands narrative, because when I’m confronted to a mostly plot-and-dialogue free succession of images such as Samsara, I’m left wondering when it’s going to mean something.  It’s curious, because I’m often the first to praise impressive cinematography in plot-driven films –why was it such a struggle to get through Samsara’s nearly-constant barrage of exceptional imagery?  Director Ron Fricke has travelled the globe in search of beautiful sequences, and what’s featured in Samasa is often awe-inspiring: from wide-screen industry to time-lapse nature, it’s one impressive image after another.  The best way to see the film is to let it flow in its entire splendor, and avoid asking questions such as why or even where was this shot?  Where I’m not so enthusiastic is in trying to make sense of it all; the film seems purposefully aimless (except when it’s not, such as its depiction of industrial agriculture) and trying to impose meaning is as exhausting as unavoidable.  Samsara is quite an experience, more akin to film poetry than filmed prose, but it may perhaps best be seen either with a director’s commentary… or as the showpiece of a still-hypothetical 8K ultra-high-definition home theater setup.

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