Saturday, September 08, 2012

From Blessing to Preaching

The 1992 film Baraka was a gorgeous celebration of the varieties of place, animals, plants and people of the planet.

The followup, 2012's Samsara, is far less successful.

Baraka is a Semitic root for "blessing". Samsara is the Buddhist term for the endless wheel of existence...and in Buddhism that is not a good thing, since the whole point of that religion is to escape its clinging impermanence.

So while Baraka was celebratory, Samsara turns out to be preachy and moralizing. All done with images, by the way. Some of which are quite compelling, but many of which seem only decorative or, worse, propagandish.
It turns out, unfortunately this time, that you can preach without words.

It's more like Koyaaninisqatsi (1982), which had a clear moral message about the clash between nature and civilization.

As well, in the time between 1992 and now, the availability of stunning images is so much higher that the shots Fricke and Magidson provide are not so...stunning anymore.

As examples of what we are supposed to see as soulless mechanization and dehumanization, we get lots of shots of mass production: everything from irons to guns, to chickens and milk cows. All in Asia.

My thought --not what I was supposed to think-- is how great it is that we are able to produce so many needed items, to say nothing of cheap and healthy food, for the masses of people on the planet.

And what the hell was that older white guy with the crazed face makeup about?

Ex Cathedra and Samsara are not a match made in Nirvana.

1 comment:

Leah said...

This looks like a friends FB page, links to many super enhancd photos from around the world. I love photography but it isn't reality. That is part of its appeal how much one can manipulate, before, during and after a photo is taken.

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