Sunday, August 26, 2012

Samsara (2011)

A poem need not be an explanation, it should be able to paint a much wider and deeper canvas than what is being presented as words. A good poem inspires imagination, evokes soul search, kindles an intellectual discourse - all much larger than the poem itself. Samsara is one such poem on 70mm film and to say that it was stunning to experience Samsara on the big-screen is just an understatement.

Samsara's idea of aesthetics mostly relies on the "Stop motion" and "Motion capture" techniques, so to state - finding an order in all randomness, finding the beauty in all chaos. It transcends the audience into a particular psychological state whereby you are forced to concentrate on the patterns and the topography than the individual discrete units that make up the pattern.

Samsara with all its calmness and soul-embracing music is an expression of contempt in all rigour. It sounded like a harsh critique on the perils of the human civilization, for me. The footage covers arms industry, the adult toy industry, electronics recycling, plastic rag picking, automobile wrecking, car manufacture, African tribals, the skyscrapers, the Buddhist monks in Asia etc, portraying a real comprehensive worldview. Wherever (the fewer times) the human faces look into the camera, they do so with so much rigidity or discernible anger or compassion or self-pity, it looked like they are making a profound political statement.

Several juxtapositions resonated hard in me - the entire sequence about the meat (animal flesh) industry is followed by prostitutes with number tags exhibiting their bodies, the operations in the dairy industry (machines milking the cows sequence) is followed by a lot of piglets feeding on a pig all raised for slaughtering, the symmetrical/shiny bullets is followed by an army general with so many medals and a disfigured face. 

It will all sound like a philosophical rant but Samsara underlines the human greed, lack of compassion, the human idea of conquest, religious & ethnic chauvinism, exploitation of human labor, war, hunger, death and so on. The footage interspersed with the actual nature - skies, deserts, waterfalls, volcanoes - shows us all the kind of harmony that is expected of the human beings as a part of this wonderful system. May be somebody else who saw the same movie in the same hall would have looked at the brighter side of things - beauty, harmony, symmetry, patterns, love, music, peace - with Samsara. And hence is Samsara's greatness, vastness, prodigiousness and rhythmicness.

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