Screened only in 4K (most cinemas only have 2K capabilites) and filmed over five years on 70mm, Samsara is a stunningly visual experience. Ron Fricke really knows how to take an amazing photograph. What he doesn't know, however, is how to direct. Whilst the music and visuals work seamlessly together, the film lacks direction and a story. Compared to Koyaanisqatsi this doesn't go anywhere and doesn't have the same message, or any message, to go with it. But that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.
For an hour and forty minutes Fricke shows us the beauty and harsh realities of our world and lives. From the creation of a stunning salt picture to a mass food production sequence involving a chicken hoover and enough innards to turn even the biggest meat lover vegetarian. The music is perfect for each image it's paired with and only enhances the experience. It works best in one particular sequence showing the mass production process for goods and food. The rhythm of the workers is mirrored in the music as it carries you relentlessly from one process to another. This is the best sequence in the film and the one that carries the most story. It doesn't feel like a slide thrown in randomly and it develops into an interesting series of images that ends with a fantastic time lapse of a man eating fast food. Although they don't specify who did the music for each part, whoever did it for this section is a genius. Following the repetitive movements of the people featured and turning them into a rhythmic melody is nothing short of brilliant and it works so well. Another brilliant sequence is the footage of prayers at Mecca. It’s shot from above and doesn’t feel like footage of thousands of people praying. They move as one and as they do the colours change making it kaleidoscopic and hypnotising.
As for the rest of the film it really feels like a slideshow of stunning images. It's almost as if they ran out of time to edit so threw it together at the last minute. It lacks a narrative and any story that begins is quickly pushed aside by a new idea. The story is never allowed to build and is never connected together apart from the final moments which are continued from the beginning. Whilst the images are gorgeous they don't appear to have a purpose which is a huge shame.
It's a gorgeous film and the resolution is something else. It leaves you dazzled by the colour, the definition and how stunning our planet and race can be. It might have a limited release but if you can find a screening then go. It's worth making a journey for.