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Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

Five years filming in 25 countries on five continents and shot in stunning 70mm Panavision (the first time this film format is used in 10 years), filmmakers Ron Frick and Mark Magidson transport us to the world’s most sacred places of worship, disaster sites, industrial centers, military bases and nature’s wondrous beauties with “Samsara.”

I have to say, I cannot remember when a 102 minute movie flew by so fast. Without a word shown or spoken – the only sound is the haunting and powerful music by Michael Stearns, Lisa Gerrard and Marcello Di Francisci – Fricke and Magidson (who together created the equally gorgeous “Baraka” in 1992) proves that their new, 5-years-in-the-making panoramic documentary is well justified. “Samsara” is a work of visual splendor that literally takes us to the four corners of the world to show the spectacles and horrors of both Mother Nature and man.

The title, “Samsara,” is a Sanscrit word that translates to “the ever turning wheel of life.”  As the film unfolds, it is like a turning wheel as the filmmakers use there spectacular 70mm film medium to capture some of the most stunning images ever scene – a vast factory floor with all of the workers clad in yellow; time lapse images of a desert from sunrise to sunset; an enormous Philippine maximum security prison with thousands of orange-clad inmates performing an elaborate choreographed dance; images of the world’s walls (Israeli security wall, the Wailing Wall). These and hundreds of other brilliant images captivate and thrill the mind and the eye.

Director Fricke was the cinematographer for 1982’s memorable visual feast, “Koyaanisqatsi,”
and he handles the camera for “Samsara,” too. The director’s deft eye and craftsmanship with his camera is even more stunning and studied in the images he collects. “Samsara” is a magical and lyrical film that lingers on its beautiful (and, sometimes, not-so-beautiful) imagery of places that few will ever get to see - save for here. I give it an A-.

Laura did not see this film.
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