A 99 minute tour of the world

I love movies. I love watching movies, I love talking about movies.. I love movies so much that if you ask me what my favorite food is, I will, without hesitation, tell you that it is movie popcorn. Partially because movie popcorn is delicious, but also because even just the scent causes me to reminisce about the last movie I saw.

Two weekends ago, I went to the Tivoli theatre in the Delmar Loop to see the incredible film, Samsara (Watch the trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGI2ZnEUTFE). If you have taken a certain class instructed by Mr. Hornbuckle, you may have seen its predecessor Baraka. Samsara is in the same vein, but is chock full of social commentary without actual commentary. Not a word is spoken in Samsara. There is no narrator, nor dialogue, only a 99-minute compilation of footage of the most incredible people and places on Earth set to an absolutely stunning soundtrack of world music.

Wikipedia, which I know is frowned upon as a source of information but which provides the best definition in this case, explains the Sanskrit word ‘Samsara’ as referring to “the world (in the sense of the various worldly activities which occupy ordinary human beings), the various sufferings thereof; or the unsettled and agitated mind through which reality is perceived.”

While the film is visually striking and the soundtrack is an absolute joy to listen to, there is a certain underlying corruption in the presentation of the footage. There is a very clear organization of the film into chapter-like segments that deal with a wide range of aspects of humanity, such as consumerism, the objectification of women, and religion.

Samsara is uncomfortable to watch at parts. It exposes the every day life of factory workers whose tasks range from slitting the throats of pigs to painting the eyelashes on what is to become the head of an erotic toy.

Don’t dismiss the film for its seemingly taboo content. Samsara is heroic and tactful in its presentation of the unheard of. It places a mirror in front of viewers and demands “Look at the world you live in,” then explores multiple different perspectives of one aspect of life.

We are taken from the assembly lines of a slaughterhouse manned by hundreds of underpaid workers to the crowded aisles of Costco, where thousands of shoppers pile pounds and pounds of the finished product into their carts to take home to their families.

We meet a man whose craft is painting the facial features onto dolls who face less than pleasant futures at the hands of greedy men. Then we are introduced to a woman, a geisha, who has experienced these evils firsthand, as she stares, trembling and ashamed, into the lens of the camera, while one fragile tear rolls down her cheek.

We see the sand-filled halls of what once was a home. We see the calloused shoulders of sulfur mine workers who carry hundreds of pounds on their backs for miles and miles. We see millions of Muslims at Mecca, mechanistically bowing and worshiping for hours a God who may not even exist.

The film begins with four monks bowed over a square table depositing colored sand into the design of the elaborate mandala they are creating. They spend hours upon hours meticulously building this symbol, and when it is finished, they brush it all away without hesitation.

This film is not life changing; it only serves to make us aware of the lives being lived right now, all over the world.

St. Charles is not life. While it is a great place to grow up, it is merely an invisible speck on the face of a globe. There are infinite cultures to learn about, infinite breathtaking natural beauties to discover.

Get on StumbleUpon. Get on Google Earth. Go to the library and pick up some National Geographic specials. You know nothing about this world, and that’s a shame. Learn. Explore. Discover.


If you’re dying to confess your love to me or tell me you hate my guts, don’t be afraid to contact me. My email is [email protected], and my twitter is @sweeeeeens. Thanks for reading.

See where I’ve been so far in my journey to banish boredom! Follow this link: