Samsara is Sanskrit for “the ever turning wheel of life.”
The film Samsara explores this theme as filmmakers searched for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over five years and in twenty-five countries, the movie takes viewers to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial site and natural wonders.
A free screening of “Samsara” will be at 7 p.m., Thursday at Star Hall. The free screening is made available through the Utah Film Circuit: Moab, an initiative of the Grand County Public Library and the Utah Film Center. The monthly screening series feature the best dramatic and documentary films from around the world.
“Samsara” is neither a traditional documentary, nor a travelogue.
There are no words: There is only image and music.
Director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson chose to use 70 mm film for this project, just as they did for its predecessors “Baraka” in 1992 and “Chronos” in 1985.
“We have employed this rarely used format because we have no actors or dialogue in our films, image is the main character,” Mark Magidson. “70 mm brings an unsurpassed emotional impact to the viewing experience. There is a beauty, immediacy, and level of detail within imagery captured in this venerable wide-screen format that is unique.”
“Samsara” is one of only a handful of films to be shot in 70mm format in the last 40 years.
The filmmakers approach to non-verbal filmmaking with an understanding that it must live up to the standard of great still photography, revealing the essence of a subject, not just its physical presence. “Samsara” was photographed entirely in 70 mm film, using both standard frame rates and with a motion control time-lapse camera designed specifically for this project.
Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.
“Samsara” takes the form of non-verbal, guided meditation and relies heavily on music.
“Half of this type of filmmaking is the music. It’s 50/50. The music embellishes the experience with feeling— it’s the dialogue, but it’s in a feeling form,” Fricke said.
Michael Stearns, musical director for both “Baraka” and “Samsara” said that watching a non-verbal film is about surrendering to the experience of the film and compares the experience to a visit to a sacred temple.