By Fattima Mahdi
From the opening scene until the final credits, Samsara (2012) is a sight to behold. It is poetic, hard-hitting and laced with stunning visuals.
Samsara was filmed in 25 countries and across 5 continents. Undoubtedly, Samsara is a unique film and is the sequel to Baraka (1992) a cult classic. Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson are a duo that knows how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Samsara is a movie that takes viewers on a journey, depicting aspects of our world that bring up a number of different emotions. In some ways, Samsara is like guided meditation. Even though the film is non-verbal, the images are very powerful. We are forced to question what we eat, how we view other species, our relationship with our environment, as well as the relationship we have with ourselves.
Samsara is groundbreaking in so many ways. Not only was it shot on 70mm film over a period of five years, but it also challenges our perceptions of reality and pushes us to the limits of our own understanding
The Continual Flow
Samsara juxtaposes life and death, day and night, violence and peace. It also uses nature to evoke meaning. There is so much that is open to interpretation, which makes this film a breath of fresh air. Unlike most films, Samsara challenges the audience to construct their own story. According to the work of D. W. Meinig,
The Beholding Eye: Ten Versions of the Same Scene, films can be examined from multiple viewpoints.
Fricke and Magidson have done a fantastic job of creating a movie that would ultimately lead to many different messages being conveyed. We, as the audience are required to create our own story with the visuals we see. We must come to our own conclusions; drawing from our personal experiences and our relationship with the scenes.
Nothing is Permanent
According to Buddhist scriptures, sand mandalas emit positive energy to people, the environment and to those that view them. Monks spend many hours constructing mandalas; they meditate and chant to release the energies within them. One of the most important scenes in Samsara is centered on the sand mandala. We watch the Monks as they pour sand with precision, creating a work of art that is breath taking in every way. Rather than indulge in admiration for their work, the Monks destroy the sand mandala. Why? Because nothing is permanent. Nothing.
It can be hard to let go. Naturally, a lot of people do not like change. They like things to stay the same, so they want permanence. The sand mandala scene in Samsara shows us the wisdom and strength required to let go. We can choose to remain attached to our material possessions, relationships and bad habits. Or, like the Monks, we can free ourselves. Impermanence is not something to be afraid of; it’s something to gravitate towards.
Check out the official trailer:
Image Credit:helenos / 123RF Stock Photo