A CURZON FILM
Screening in cinemas as part of Curzon Home Cinema Presents… on Wednesday 12 March.
Spanish director Lois Patiño, who cut his teeth in experimental cinema, uses techniques from that world to astonishing effect with Samsara, bringing audiences a transcendental experience made for the big screen. Having played in the Encounters section of 2023’s Berlinale, Samsara beckons viewers to traverse time and space, across the universe and beyond in a film which Sight and Sound has described as ‘genuinely transformational.’
The story unfolds in two parts, across two continents, two communities, two cultures, and two sets of inner lives. One half is set in Laos among the monks of a Buddhist temple, where a young man called Amid tends to a dying woman. He travels across the Mekong River to read to her from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, preparing her for the journey to the other side. The other half unfurls in Tanzania where a young girl named Juwairiya wakes up to the news that a baby goat has been born. She names it Neema, the Arabic word for blessing. Local women farm seaweed and make soap and the men catch fish. ‘Life is change,’ Juwairiya’s grandmother explains to her; there is regeneration in the air. Between these two stories lies a sensory pathway made of light and sound; the viewer is only asked to close their eyes to join the experience.
Like a conversation held on the border between one lifetime and the next, Samsara is a meditation on the journeys we take upon the wheel of life, and continues Patiño’s exploration of the moving image, expanding it as an immersive experience. In the same vein as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the cycle of life and reincarnation acquiesce with the experience of watching.