No plot, no characters, just images. These sorts of films don't come around often, but when they do, they can be one-of-a-kind wonders, as looks to be the case with Samsara. I haven't seen Ron Fricke's previous film (Baraka), but I have seen his work as a cinematographer on Godfrey Reggio's masterful Koyaanisqatsi (1982), one of my all-time favorites. Fricke knows how to capture the vast beauty of untamed nature and rampant human development, and it looks like his gift is on full display here. What also interests me is the theme. Similar character and plot-free films have used the nature vs. industrialized world device before, but Fricke's seems to have a positive, unitive goal in mind. The theme can be found in the title, which is Tibetan for "the ever-turning wheel of life." If the visuals and music of the trailer are any indication, Fricke's latest may just succeed at what it wants to capture. Considering that it involved five years of shooting across 25 countries, I'd say its odds are looking pretty good. Let's just hope this receives strong enough distribution, as it looks like it deserves to be seen on the big screen, what with it being shot on 70mm film (when was the last time a trailer actually advertised its own medium?).
Trailer Grade: A