As seen in SAMSARA a film by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson. Picture courtesy Oscilloscope Laboratories. All rights reserved.

Samsara (2011/2012)

Opened: 08/24/2012 Limited

Sunshine Cinema08/24/2012 - 11/08/201277 days
Arclight/Holly...08/24/2012 - 10/11/201249 days
The Landmark08/31/2012 - 09/27/201228 days
Playhouse 708/31/2012 - 09/20/201221 days
Town Center 508/31/2012 - 09/13/201214 days
Kendall Square...09/07/2012 - 10/04/201228 days
AMC Empire 2509/07/2012 - 09/20/201214 days
Fallbrook 709/14/2012 - 09/20/20127 days
Claremont 509/14/2012 - 09/20/20127 days
NoHo 709/28/2012 - 10/04/20127 days
Downtown Ind...11/02/2012 - 12/06/201235 days
Cinema Village...11/09/2012 - 11/15/20127 days
Downtown Ind...12/17/2012 - 01/10/201325 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Genre: Documentary

Rated: PG-13 for for some disturbing and sexual images.


Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience. SAMSARA reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films BARAKA and CHRONOS were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry. SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means "the ever turning wheel of life" and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.

Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man's spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. 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.

The filmmakers approach 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 70mm film utilizing both standard frame rates and with a motion control time-lapse camera designed specifically for this project. This camera system allows perspective shifts to reveal extraordinary views of ordinary scenes. The images were then transferred through the highest resolution scanning process available to the new 4K digital projection format that allows for mesmerizing images of unprecedented clarity. SAMSARA will be a showpiece for the new, high-resolution 4K digital projection, the HD format, as well as standard digital and film projection.

About the Filmmakers

Ron Fricke (Director/Cinematographer)

Ron Fricke is a meticulous filmmaker who has mastered a wide range of skills. This versatility allows him to carefully sculpt his films during each phase of their development.

In his early work as director of photography, co-editor, and co-writer for KOYAANISQATSI, a renowned nonverbal art film, Fricke experimented with many previously obscure film techniques. He used time-lapse, slow motion, and optical phase printing to present familiar images from a new perspective. KOYAANISQATSI won a 1983 Filmex Audience Award.

Indulging his passion for 70mm, and determined to make life-affirming films, Fricke proceeded to direct and photograph CHRONOS (1985), a 45 min nonverbal, IMAX format film that won the Grand Prix Award at the first Festival International Omnimax de Paris (1987). Fricke worked on several other IMAX format films, including the night sky short SACRED SITE (1986), which he directed and photographed.

BARAKA is a nonverbal feature film photographed in 70mm in over 20 countries. It develops the themes of interconnection and transcendence, which Fricke began to explore in CHRONOS. Fricke directed, photographed, coedited, and co-wrote BARAKA (1992). BARAKA received numerous festival awards including the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI) for Best Picture at the Montreal World Film Festival and was nominated by the A.C.E. for Best Documentary Editing.

Over the last decade, Fricke has directed and photographed national commercials for Isuzu, Jeep, Holland America, Star Alliance and Nokia, among others. He was director of photography on Francis Ford Coppola's HD experimental feature film project MEGALOPOLIS. He was also a second unit director of photography for Lucasfilm Ltd. on STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.

After five years of production, Fricke's latest film is SAMSARA (2011), a feature nonverbal film photographed in 70mm in 25 countries. Conceived as a guided meditation on the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, SAMSARA is directed, photographed, co-edited, and co-written by Fricke.

Mark Magidson (Producer/Co-Editor/Co-Writer)

In the broad landscape of independent film production, Mark has emerged as a unique filmmaker who has undertaken artistic projects that are epic in scale, entail great technical complexity and innovation, and transcend an ordinary view of the world.

An inventor and industrial designer with a diverse technical background, and equally comfortable in both creative and producing roles, Mark is a hands-on filmmaker who is deeply involved in all aspects of his projects, including concept development, production management, editing, and scoring. In the course of the last 20+ years, he has taken crews to over 50 countries in search of profound and one of a kind imagery.

As co-producer of the IMAX film CHRONOS (1985; Grand Prix du Jury Award at the first Festival International du Film Omnimax de Paris in 1987) he pioneered a conversion of the film to the new 870 format that expanded its availability beyond the IMAX theater group, a protocol that was later widely emulated.

After the completion of CHRONOS, Mark began developing the 70mm feature project that was to become BARAKA (1992) with director Ron Fricke, which Mark produced, co-wrote, and co-edited. Three years and 24 countries in the making, the film won numerous awards including the FIPRESCI (International critics) Award for Best Picture at the Montreal World Film Festival. Mark also received a nomination for Best Documentary Editing from the A.C.E.

In 1995, he produced and directed TOWARD THE WITHIN, a theatricallyreleased feature-length documentary about the world music group Dead Can Dance and singer/composer Lisa Gerrard. Lisa is one of the composers on SAMSARA.

For the BARAKA Blu-ray, he pioneered a first-of-its-kind film to digital scanning process. The resulting Blu-ray was described by critic Roger Ebert as "the finest video-disc I have ever viewed or ever imagined" and "by itself sufficient reason to acquire a Blu-ray player."

SAMSARA, also photographed in 70mm, has been in production for over 4 years.

Michael Stearns (Composer/Musical Direction)

Michael is a highly accomplished composer, musician, and sound engineer who combines a diverse range of skills to create music with a deeply resonant and spacious quality very conducive to work with film. Michael also has a vast collection of sounds he has recorded during his travels that he weaves into his original music to bringing an organic quality to his work.

His credits include music and soundtrack production for television, feature films, planetariums, theme parks, 22 IMAX films and 17 solo albums. He has created music used for James Cameron's THE ABYSS, TITANIC, and AVATAR, Disney Films, HBO, ABC, PBS, BBC, Discovery Channel, and the non-verbal films CHRONOS, SACRED SITE, and BARAKA. His music has been used by NASA, Laserium, and choreographed by the Berkshire Ballet.

Michael has produced the soundtracks to Universal Studio's themed attractions "Earthquake" and "Back To The Future: The Ride." He produced the soundtrack to Paramount Pictures' ride film "Star Trek: The Experience," and wrote and produced principal music for World's Fair/Expos in Korea, Japan, and Spain. Stearns works in his music studio and post-production facility "The Guest House" in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Lisa Gerrard (Composer)

"Music is a place to take refuge. It's a sanctuary from mediocrity and boredom. It's innocent and it's a place you can lose yourself in thoughts, memories, and intricacies..." -- Lisa Gerrard

Over a career that takes in almost two decades with Dead Can Dance, awardwinning movie soundtracks, and a series of acclaimed solo and collaborative albums, Lisa Gerrard has established herself as one of Australia's most groundbreaking and in-demand artists.

Lisa brings a vision that is both precise and all-embracing to everything she does. She is known for using an idiosyncratic language which she has developed since the age of 12 and helps her to connect with people on a deeper level than words can often achieve.

Her voice has been described by many music journalists as rich, jaw-dropping, deep, dark, and mournful but most would agree it is incredibly unique.

In recent years, Lisa has established herself as one of the most highly soughtafter film composers in the world, winning major awards for her scores including her Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated work on Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR.


In 2009, Lisa's score to Robert Connelly's critically-acclaimed film BALIBO gave her four industry award nominations and won Best Feature Film Score at the Screen Music Awards.

More recently, Lisa has completed scores to ORANGES AND SUNSHINE, Jonathan Teplitzky's highly anticipated BURNING MAN and co-composed the sequel to Baraka, SAMSARA.