Samsara is a non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson; these two cinematographic geniuses also created the films Chronos (1985) and more recently Baraka (1992). Samsara in Sanskrit means cyclic existence; in the words of Ron the film “will delve deeper into my favorite theme: humanity’s relationship to the eternal.” Samara premiered at Toronto film festival in late 2011 and is scheduled for global release later this year (2012).
A whole 20 years have passed since Baraka was created and the duo team Ron and Mark still choose 70mm film using a Panavision system over the new school digital techniques. The images are then transferred to 4k digital projection format through a high res scanning process which retains most of the quality seen in 70mm film. They chose 70mm over digital film because they knew it would stand the test of time and not be too outdated by the end of the production process.
The big time difference between films is because of how long production took; over the course of the 3 films Fricke and Magidson had visited 58 countries. All three sister films don’t have actors or narratives in a traditional sense, instead use the earth and its people as the subject matter to capture visually breathtaking footage. The aim of the movies were to give the viewer a connection of what the world around them is really like, but more of an emotional connection opposed an intellectual experience “Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation.”
Samsara alone took the course of 5 years to be completed showcasing 100 locations in 25 different countries; China, Myanmar, India, Japan, Turkey, Ethiopia, France, United States, and Brazil being just a select few.
Looking at the trailers of Samsara I cannot help being blown away from the extraordinary levels of detail, clarity, and vibrance. Baraka being made 20 years ago shares this amazing quality to a degree, but you can definitely see an improvement in visuals in the upcoming film samsara. Personally cannot wait to experience Fricke and Magidson new installment.