I just saw a screening of Samsara at the TIFF, at the brilliant TIFF Lightbox theatre. Wow. A film that took 5 years to make and co-ordinate. Shot in Panarama 70mm, across 26 countries, needing major government and regulatory clearances, having to wait for certain seasons or lunar phases to get the light to hit the way director Fricke wanted...carefully strung together with a massive 7.1 surround sound design and music score from Michael Stearns, Marcello de Francisci, and Lisa Gerrard (of Dead Can Dance). The 70mm negative has been digitally scanned and oversampled at 8k resolution (much like the 'Baraka' Blu-ray); the TIFF Lightbox theatre installed a brand new Christie 4k projector (Christie Projection Systems rushed the projector before its release to the market specifically for this event) making it the first true 4k screening of it's kind. From sweeping landscapes to time-lapse sequences of the night sky and from exclusive looks into the processing of food to the consumption and effects it has on the human body, Samsara is nothing short of astounding. Modern technology, production lines, and human robotics are juxtaposed against a backdrop of deserts, garbage mounds as far as the eye can see, and traffic congestion in modern centres. The time-lapse footage is simply transcendent. In fact, I caught myself questioning the reality of some of the landscape vistas and night skyline montages...they looked so hyper-real that I thought they must have come from a CG lab somewhere. Simply astonishing. The richness, depth and clarity of colour and image achieved within the processes utilized gives birth to the most beautiful visual meditation that I have ever witnessed. As one film journalist noted, "That Samsara is instantly one of the most visually-stunning films in the history of cinema is reason enough to cherish it, but Fricke and co-editor Mark Magidson achieve truly profound juxtapositions, brimming with meaning and emotion. It sounds preposterous, but it's true: In 99 minutes, Samsara achieves something approaching a comprehensive portrait of the totality of human experience. If you're even remotely fond of being alive, Samsara is not to be missed." If you ever come across the chance to see this film in a decent theatre, run, and let your eyeballs (and earholes) feast upon its brilliance.
Documentary / Music
Documentary / Music
Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
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April 16, 2019