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Samsara is a non-verbal documentary by filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson that was shot on 70mm and later output to digital. It was released in 2011. The movie was filmed in 25 countries and took five years to complete. Samsara literally means ‘wandering on’ or basically birth, death and rebirth. I expect that what this film leaves you with depends, at least in part, on your knowledge and/or feelings about the religions or belief systems that espouse reincarnation. I’m frankly at a bit of a loss as to how to describe this film. There are no words spoken in the entire film and my reactions to it were not really thought but rather felt. This movie is extremely beautiful, mesmerizing, thought provoking, disturbing, cringe-inducing, can’t take my eyes off of it art. There were moments that left me breathless at its beauty and moments that disturbed me profoundly. There were a couple of moments that freaked me out a bit and a couple that left me shaking my head at their randomness. I have a feeling that depending on a person’s perceptions and points of view and beliefs, what they find most beautiful and what they find most disturbing will differ. My most lasting impressions are of vivid color, frank amazement at the beauty of this planet, horror at some of the things and ideals so many hold dear as well as the costs of those things, and the love and beauty that can be found in even the most difficult places. It’s that dichotomy of “oh my god, we’re doomed” and “love always finds a way, maybe we’ll be ok” set against the impermanence of life and the things we cherish, that make this film so fascinating. The amazing diversity of the people and cultures on our planet are wondrous to behold and the filmmakers give us a vivid peek at many of them. Samsara is available on Netflix, which is where I watched it. I highly recommend this movie, no matter your tastes or beliefs, as I believe everyone would find something to enjoy about it.

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