In 1982, director Godfrey Reggio made an important film entitled Koyaanisqatsi, a documentary of sorts which showed images of nature juxtaposed with images of humanity, with no narration and accompanied only by an iconic musical score by Phillip Glass. The cinematographer for this film was Ron Fricke, who directed a similar short documentary entitled Chronos in 1985. He created another documentary in 1992, the feature-length Baraka, which is better-known and often compared to Koyaanisqatsi. Baraka is stunning – it, too, juxtaposes nature and humanity, with no narration, only music. The images are beautiful and haunting, causing the viewer to think about our connection to the world at large – not just within our culture, but within all of humanity.
Last year, Fricke created a sequel-of-sorts: Samsara, created over the course of five years and, like Baraka, shot with 70mm film. (For those who don't know, most commercial films are [or were – digital has kind of taken over] shot in 35mm; 70mm is much more clear, and is of higher quality than even the most high-definition digital.) Again, Samsara takes us on a journey through the myriad forms of humanity, showing those who live within nature alongside those of us who exploit it for our own destructive purposes. Samsara means “the ever-turning wheel of life” in Sanskrit, and it is this that Fricke attempts to explore.
If you need convincing, watch the trailer below – if it doesn't leave you out of breath and in awe, then you probably have no soul.
Baxter Avenue Theater presents a midnight screening of Samsara tomorrow, Saturday. The theater is located at 1250 Bardstown Road. Further theater information and advance ticket sales can be found at the Baxter Avenue Theater website.
Image: Internet Movie Database