Samsara - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Samsara Reviews

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July 9, 2017
The most hypnotic and beautiful documentary I've seen in awhile that sticks with you long after.
April 11, 2017
beautiful from beginning to end
½ April 4, 2017
A common quote I've heard several times before is "A picture is worth a thousand words". It depends on what picture you're looking at but if you're watching Samsara then its images will take a lifetime to read.

Filmed over a period of 5 years in 25 countries, Samsara transports us to disaster zones, enormous cities, and natural landmarks as we get to witness breathtaking imagery.

This movie is unlike any other film I have ever seen. It has no words, no plot, and no characters. Its only purpose is to present us with dozens upon dozens of overwhelmingly beautiful photographs featuring many wonders around the world. Just about every single shot is masterfully filmed. I could take almost every single photo from the movie, hang it on a poster on my wall, and admire it for years. This movie displays some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen before.

The music is also great too. But most of the time, you won't notice it because you'll be distracted on a great shot. However, the music is just noticeable and quiet enough to give you a good feeling and you'll find that it immerses you even more into the film even when you pay more attention to the shots. It works with the movie very well and it engaged me even more.

I really want to give this a 5/5 but there were a few sequences which bugged me. One of the scenes contained a group of female strippers dancing around in a circle. The other one contained a slaughter house and it showed us animals getting turned into food (don't worry, it's not too graphic). There were also a few other scenes which didn't interest me. Those scenes kind of took me out of the experience for a bit because I didn't feel that they looked as dazzling as many of the other scenes in the movie. Fortunately, there were only a few of those scenes in the entire film but it did annoy me a great deal when those sequences happened.

Despite the few weaker sequences, I for one extremely enjoyed the film. I can safely say that I've felt more engaged in this movie then almost every other film I've ever seen before (even some of my top 10 favorite movies of all time). If you're a fan of photography then this is definitely the biggest must-see film ever. I might check out Ron Fricke's other 2 films (Baraka and Chronos) sometime in the future to see if they can match up to this one.
October 18, 2016
If you are a visually inclined individual and appreciate excellent cinematography and imagery with an absence of dialogue - this film is for you.
October 16, 2016
The best documentary ever made. It's not a rotten movie, it is very fresh tomato movie. Who says, it is rotten movie, she/he is rotten herself/himself.
October 4, 2016
Deeply stimulating. Achingly beautiful. The most surreal places on earth vividly revealed to us as we are magically transported around the globe. We spend a lot of screen time locking eyes with the various people of the film as they stair unmovingly at the camera, its confronting, it forces us to connect with these people, to understand their lives and their struggles. I found it very powerful. The film portrays life, death, inequality, human dignity, destruction, war, ancient cultures, futuristic technology, sexuality, religion, prisons, rubbish dumps, metropolises, villages, fat americans and one scary guy putting mud on his face. But the conclusion is that we are all interconnected, I also that we maybe eat too much meat. Actually, I would have preferred a stronger narrative, and some of the shots were a bit boring or should have been cut shorter.
September 26, 2016
First Hit: Powerful images, beautiful cinematography, and elegantly shot, if you want to see the circuitous cycle of life (Samsara) in musical rhythmic technicolor, watch this film.

"Samsara" can be interpreted as the cycle of life; the birth, dying and rebirth of all things. It would be quite a challenge to come up with examples to give the readers of this reviews a taste of what the film "Samsara" entails, however I'll try. Shot without descriptive words, but with elegantly selected music, Ron Fricke gives the audience members a view of our world most will never see. There are so many images that tie the story of "Samsara" together. A few that I'm reminded of at the moment of this writing are: The three young Balinese dancers, at the beginning, and the way they held their unchanging expressions. The Chinese troupe doing the 1,000 hands dance towards the end of the film and their amazing arm movement. The food segments were very powerful; where we see how food in processed in plants in various parts of the world, even the US, then segueing to an overweight American family eating processed fast food, ending with a very large obese man getting marked by a surgeon for weight loss surgery. It was a very graphic sequence. Watching Tibetan Monks creating a large sand mandala while young monks, carefully and intently, watched their technique was stirring. The construction is practically grain by grain over a number of days and is stunning to watch. The breathtaking colors being destroyed at the end, which completes the mandala's cycle, exemplifies "Samsara". Then there are amazing shots of religious buildings and areas across the globe. Mecca invites curiosity by seeing hundreds of thousands of people bowing and praying in unison while another hundred thousand are circling the Black Stone of the Kaaba. We see the Buddhist temples of Bagan in Myanmar, and Tibetian Buddhists in Ledakh India. We see the amazing cathedrals of Notre Dame , Mont Saint Michel in France, the Basilica Di San Pietro in Italy, and the Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. There are segments of people of all types and them at work. The poorest of the poor in Sao Paulo Brazil, the suffering sulfur mine workers in Indonesia, a life size doll factory in Japan, a coffin building shop in Ghana and people going through the trash dumps in Quezon City in the Philippines and Accra, Ghana. The segment where prisoners dance on the exercise yard in the Philippines was oddly engaging. The physical beauty of the planet is one of the stars of this film: Volcanos, canyons, forests, water, and the beauty of buildings humans have created like the Pyramids, man-made islands, shopping centers, and other amazing constructions. One of the most powerful (and sad) segments was on the creation of guns. We see manufacturing and we see owners, proud owners, of their weapons that kill. One warrior in Omo Valley was especially arresting to look at. Samsara, the life, death and life again of everything. Truly a film of beauty creating thought provoking questions.

Ron Fricke is an amazing director. His vision is sublime. Like in his film Baraka, he selects stunning locations and gives the viewer so much information about humanity that one will leave the theater slightly stunned, intriguingly awake, and filled with thoughts about our place on this blue marble we call Earth.

Overall: Amazing and overwhelmingly rich in beauty and thoughtful probes into our inner life.
½ August 1, 2016
A beauty indeed, yet not so impressive as Bararka, even though the attempt on making this more with depth and a not so subtle critical view on humans food intake. Abusive mass production of animals made for consumption as well as clinics for fat suction are shown parallel.
½ June 9, 2016
A gorgeous visual documentation of human culture that says a lot without saying anything. If we send one film out into space for aliens, this would be the right one to send. Their mistake was not filming it in Imax format.
May 30, 2016
Visually it is great. An Atlas of Life and Globe
March 23, 2016
It's easy to get lost in the profound and beautiful imagery of this film. A rare and raw look at modern society. The filmmakers were not afraid to capture both the triumph and tragedy of how we live our lives.

This might just be my favorite film of all time. Thank you for brining this art to the world. I just wish I would have had the opportunity to see it on the big screen.
½ March 10, 2016
Powerful and hypnotic cinema. It makes the world and us humans so alien. Its a very well executed idea.
February 21, 2016
Time to stop consuming information all the time and just be.
January 30, 2016
harmonious sensual flow of images that trips the mind into a beautiful world didn't want to come out from.
½ November 29, 2015
This is a stunning documentary that is wordless and features absolutely stunning photography. It is equal parts beautiful, meditative and also thought provoking. This one is a MUST watch!
½ November 9, 2015
An artsy-photography laden montage of stunning nature shots and unique people, but in the end, it's just eye-candy.
September 20, 2015
I'll just repeat what I said about Baraka: Aesthetically perfect, philosophically moronic. And it's not that I disagree with what Fricke's trying to say (yes, factory farming, plastic waste, exploitation of workers, all bad things), it's just the way that he says it. It's like being hit on the head for two hours with a sign that says "You suck! Monks are awesome!" But that photography, man...that photography...
September 7, 2015
Amazing beautiful cinematography and music. Even without plot or dialogue the story told here is clear. A fascinating study of the cycles of life -- nature, humanity, architecture, disaster, love, death. Even the ugliest images are somehow beautiful. It's hard to explain what this is about but this is the rare film I'll be keeping in my library to watch again and again.
September 4, 2015
Great silent (without dialogues) documentary. It's a visual ride, and a fantastic one, along with a good soundtrack, so make sure you watch it on a big, large screen with good speakers.
August 26, 2015
Yet another gorgeous film in the vein of Koyaanisqatsi that is perfect for casual viewing or functions as background noise, well worth a look if you have a chance to track it down.

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