Samsara (2023) Movie Review: In a globe that has heaped up errands to fulfill and career goals to attain, in addition to competitions between peers and a gigantic expanse of family obligations to adhere to, lies another proportion of life that goes unnoticed due to the perseverance of conquering development. A dimension that has partaken to the constitutions of being mindful of the surroundings, a plausible means of observing time as a supervisory tool to esteem the benedictions of nature that surrounds us. A consciousness that usually fixates on older people to achieve salvation, at most. What if it was imperative at all phases of living?

In Lois Patino’s Samsara (2023), Bee An is introduced as a teenage novice monk who stays in a Buddhist temple, bestowing his practice on the ethos and mannerism of being devoted to his religion. We see Bee An and a cluster of other monks attending a coordinated prayer recitation, which has a fetching melody. Cinematographers Mauro Herce and Jessica Sarah Rinland ensured the projection that emanates as a layout of conveying messages arises to an aspect of allusion by showcasing a virtual reverie reel of monks pleasantly administering the art of thought pods.

It comprehends the historical attainment of rejuvenating the dreamers’ trail to their origins, which itself has a million other breadcrumbs to cotton on. Conversation themes among the monks that stimulate the subject matter of education and work prospects lie side by side as dependable influences to manage their religious stances, with a dialogue that tops to “Buddhism makes us become good.”

Amid is another persona in the film who has intensified the variables of “Enchanting Nature as My Pal to Let our Voyages Bloom.” He is a modern teenage boy who goes to a village to care for an aged woman in her final days of living. We witness her on the canto of approaching her deathbed, yet she yearns for her soul to resolve an incomplete matter. During the dissolutions of existence, mesmeric requests could arise, for better or worse, as a passage to sanction death as a natural soul barter.

The leap that director Lois Patiño has shaped within his directorial accomplishes respect for time and space as indispensable facets of bridging life and death. An amalgamation of Jakrawal Nilthamrong’s 2021 film Anatomy of Time and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2015 film Cemetery of Splendor are glued vividly in this film to reckon the peculiar beauty of death and the provisional cycle.

The contact of two separate souls reaches an encounter point as Bee An and Amid meet and exchange lifespan principles that would later gratify their needs to execute their equitable duties. An intuitive discussion on personal predilections, interests, and inimitably about death as a binder that sets the mood right. Naiveness and unmapped visualizations are represented right on that instant, as we see them partaking in their own selections to incorporate a twilight of desired mediums.

 The weight of sight is carried copiously on long shots of personified activities with respect to the resonances of nature. Surrealism wands at the cruxes of fathoming the conceptual Deja-vu mechanisms while connecting it to perpendicular diagonals of consciousness. Perhaps a clue to unearthing what comes subsequently, or a syllabus study of reinventing viable molecules of eternity through Bee An’s encounters and Amid’s sudden swing of focus.

Samsara embraces the meditative study of death in the context of Buddhism, and it doesn’t stop right there. While Amid recites from the Book of the Dead called Bardo Thodol to the older woman who passed away on her deathbed, the lingering paradoxes link and divulge to answer several questions that have arisen. What is Amid’s principal motive for rewiring his memory lines while returning from the Kuang Si Waterfalls temple? Why do certain statements from the Bardo Thodol, like “You will see your land and your own corpse” and “Let your mind rest and wander in the intermediate existence,” have a concurrent upshot to the audience and the old woman simultaneously? A celestial journey pops on the screen, coming without a whiff.

Samsara (2023) Movie Review
A still from Samsara (2023)

“Close your eyes. Sense light through your eyelids, but don’t open them. Only when silence comes will we open them again. It will be a long journey. Now, close your eyes”. It was a visionary attempt by Lois Patiño to deliver a groundbreaking technique of using filming technologies to provide a virtual bridge for transporting a soul for the purpose of reincarnation. Epileptic flickers with colorful illuminations bombard the screen (the flashes provide a magical tunnel-like sensation), which guides us with a trajectory of beguiling sounds (thanks to Xabier Erkizia for the excellent sound design) originating from the murmurs of the animals, the echoes of the forests and droplets of heavy rainfalls.

All pacific and serene, which distracts from war-like detonations, gunfire, people chatting in a rushed manner, and static thuds, which feel like being in a commotion. The experience of letting the audience condense themselves in a two-way communicative screenplay goes beyond the power of AI, almost overwhelming to begin with. The Yin and Yang of undergoing the sunlight of positivity and the darkness of negativity come hand in hand with the imaginative session of soul transference. This is shown as the virtual pathway of delivering a soul to justify its initial wishes and to carry on a quest to reach a new interstellar, a new commencement, or a new transformation.

The Uroa village in the heart of Zanzibar breathes new air with the birth of a baby goat. Juwairiya has no other intentions than to rear her new pet, which seems to be a companion for the whole family. The shift to a unique ecosystem that sits on the same bar of tranquility keeps the momentum of heading to new heights of blessings for the human race. As of now, the inspiration manuscript that keeps turning the page in the audience’s minds would quadruple in size or even head infinity with the tons of spiritual luminescence that have gathered like lightbulbs in a ballroom.

The exchange of culture doesn’t move an inch from the pace that has followed blissfully from the start of the film, even while witnessing the soap-making process out of seaweeds collected by the community. As more time is expended to cocoon the attention towards Neema (name of the baby goat), startling events occur across the timeframe, which clenches Juwairiya and her mother to a life coaching session of unending possibilities.

Samsara, which won the Special Jury Prize under the Encounters category at Berlinale this year, is a delicate modulation of time, space, and value of a soul that starts with innocence and ends with an assembly of memoirs. It is a resilient and non-superficial attempt to describe the gravels of the current state and the afterlife, which is incredibly sensitive to the foundation of nature. A firework of emotions would loiter within your inner well-being, which feels like a painless autopsy. This motion picture refuses to follow the typicality of scripts but goes through a lifecycle jubilation that splashes nirvana within its runtime. “Life is Change” wins the race of time, anytime.

Read More: 10 Great Movies about Making a Fresh Start

Samsara (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Letterboxd
Samsara (2023) Movie Cast: Amid Keomany, Toumor Xiong, Simone Milavanh
Samsara (2023) Movie Genre: Drama, Runtime: 1h 53m

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