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Following up on the moving "Baraka," the dialogue-free documentary "Samsara" takes its title from a Sanskrit word that means "continuous flow" or "circle of life" (depending on your translator) and presents a stunning series of visuals showing the planet's cyclical journey from nature through civilization and back.
Starting with stark images and time-lapse footage of wild wonders, from windswept vistas in Namibia to Utah's Delicate Arch, director/photographer Rob Fricke employs rich 70mm footage to reveal the ways humans alter the natural world from factory farms to skyscraper cities and even our natural bodies, including images of plastic surgery, Japanese robots and Thai "ladyboys." He also shows off the majesty of religious life, including images of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the hajj to Mecca, and Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala.
Fricke's central theme, of people outracing their planet's ability to sustain them, is slow to build but unmistakable by the film's conclusion.
Opens Friday, Oct. 12, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some disturbing and sexual images; 102 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.