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Samsara Documentary Analysis

Samsara is a documentary by the creators of Baraka which captivates the audience like never before. It is filmed over five years and in twenty-five countries, highlighting how much effort has gone into the making of the documentary. Samsara is a Sanskrit word which when translated means “the ever turning wheel of life”. In simpler terms, it refers to the belief of death and rebirth which is found in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Being filmed in twenty-five countries, Samsara takes the viewers from one end of the globe to the other. It portrays Tibetan monks, African tribes and all the way to Los Angeles. The story is told not by words or texts but by way of aligning the pictures in such a way that the viewer is able to make sense of them easily.

Unlike most traditional documentaries, Samsara does not contain any narration or visual text but solely relies on the visuals and a captivating soundtrack. It has changed my views on life and all its aspects. The video shows a picture of a volcanic eruption which is symbolic of death. Immediately after, it showed a new born baby which gave me the concept of the rebirth. These events gave me a perspective on the Buddhist belief of life, death, and rebirth. Although these are random pictures but they are interconnected if viewed closely.

It presents multiple cultures of the world unifying it under the concept of samsara. Despite the cultural and material differences, we are constantly united by similar factors which cannot be changed by virtue of being part of the human family. There are many pictures which show parental characteristics e.g. the heavily tattooed person holding a baby and two babies in a shopping cart. It shows how the values of people are aligned despite physical and social barriers/differences.

The unsettling scenes of mass production (workers in factories) and consumption tell us how the world is interlinked through the culture of globalization. Lastly, the interpretation of the movie is left to the viewers but the underlying theme is that the directors want us to appreciate the beauty of life and focus on the aspects that unite us. In conclusion, despite the physical and social barriers, we are aligned on the basis of a universal culture which transcends all such boundaries.



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