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Samsara

Year: 2011
Production Co: Bali Film Centre
Director: Ron Fricke
Writer: Ron Fricke/Mark Magidson

Not to be confused with the sexy 2001 Tibetan film of the same name, this movie is more like the Qatsi trilogy or Microcosmos – a documentary of images that doesn't really have a story so much as a series of clips that might have a loose thread but might not.

In this case, I saw one. Moving with a light step from country to country and scene to scene, it seemed to have something several quietly political things to say because of sequences depicting obesity, factory farming, guns and more.

It also seems like a uniquely non-Western odyssey, much of it filmed in Asia and Africa (it begins and ends with scenes of Tibetan monks overlooking a vast and ancient city), although when you remember back – or read the credits – there have been several scenes in America and the West too.

You can look for (and find) a story if you want to find one, but the images are so artful and at times gorgeous that if you like you can just let it wash over you, the visual equivalent of music in the background while you're doing something else which puts you in a very particular mood of thoughtfulness and reflection.

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