Film Review - Samsara
The film considers itself as critics of the modern age. The only thing it shows are pictures and occurrences of today without any kind of comment. The film artisitically treads a new path with its accomplished mixture of beautiful and partially disgusting pictures. The spectator will have to critically reflect what he sees in spite or even because of the absence of words. In the beginning the film is taking the audience to pose a question about the heritage and residue of modern age by showing heritage/ residue of some cultures of the past as well as the devastation of a modern functional building and the progression of the desert into a residential building. Besides this the film continues to show impressive pictures of nature and religious buildings of today from the past which should make the spectator remember of beauty. The film changes over to present excrescences of the modern age like mega-cities, mass production, agribusiness and the arming of the modern world. By doing so the film opposes the modern age to traditionally living peoples like they still continue to live in Africa. At this point however the critical performance of the film seems to miss out. One point is a wrong depiction of the actual situation in some part like f.i. by showing different tribal folk with traditional weapons for hunting first and then alltogether with modern arms. This does not conform with reality. Many of these folk attach great importance to their autonomy, their culture and their values and do not only refuse to use modern weaupons but some of them f.i. also things made of metal. Technics as we know it today is nothing that has evenfallen on humankind without its direct assistance but nowadays also something that has been developed proactively by the structures of power standing behind the modern age. The author of this critics does not support the opinion that everything which is possible will be developed and deployed one day. The nuclear scientists around Werner Heisenberg have pit against the development of nuclear weaupons under the Nazis by indirectly contesting its producibility and by advising the leader to better develop the V-weaupon (automatic missile, rocketry as adopted by the Allies). A classical example for a technology that has for long not been developed due to political decisions are nowadays various renewable energy sources. This is due to the fear of big energy monopolists to loose their income and power towards smaller businesses. The film does actually fail to disclose and illustrate the symbols and centers of power that stand behind modern age. The modern surveillance society with all of its cameras and electronic spies as an outgrowth of a more and more paranoid circle of power has not been shown.
The film seems to present religion with its demonstration of religious buildings as the ensign of beauty as a resort towards the outgrowth of the modern age. The human being of the modern age is presented to be as primitive as the people of stone age. A perception like this misconceives the reality and does not go far enough in the critics of modern age. The last folk of the stone age who still populate f.i. our primeval forests are no „godless“ barbarics without any kind of believe. The ability to slash-and-burn our forests have been given to humankind since the invention to make fire. In spite of this none of these folk have ever slashed and burnt their forest in order to extend their arable land during several thousands of years (The folks of the Amazon f.i. do against public opinion not only live on hunting and gathering but mainly on growing manioc.). As different as the believes of all these folks around the world are they all believe in an enlivened and ensouled nature which they do not want to cause harm upon; possibly because they know that they would harm themselves by doing so. What does our almighty and morally superior Christianity say in this case? Animals have no soul. Make the earth your tributary; subordinate all the earth which is not considered enlivened neither by itself nor its inhabitants with exception to the human being.
Modern age has arousen out of the age of descovery when the Europeans with their medieval believe have encountered folk still living in the stone time who were in spite of this in no way less happy than the Europeans who have been plagued by peonage, plaque, religious wars, marauding knights and the holy inquisition for centuries. The lands from afar were seen as paradise free of the stringent religious requirements which where thereupon put in question. At last people have started to remember the antiquity when people in Europe also had a different believe. People started to break out the antique writings being disposed behind the thickest walls of monastaries for so long (At least those which have outlasted the time and which were not deliberately destroyed like those when bigots burnt down the antique library of Alexandria.). The rebirth of ancient times was done and by doing so the beginning of modern times. Now without giving up several believe perceptions and without people willing to give their live to promote this change nothing would have happened and the world as we know it today could not exist. In spite of this may we still direct to Christianity in order to solve the problems which have arousen out of our modern age? The author thinks no. Concerning the exploitation and destruction of our environment Christianity does not seem to provide any solution (rather than promoting this destruction). But can it find any response to the social problems of our time? That may be put at doubt. Christianity concedes justice to the poor; a fact why it is so popular. Nonetheless Christianity does also concede justice to their exploiters who think of their frivolous earnings as wage and guerdon for their effort and ambition. Many of the top earners of economics think of themselves as good christs and about their exploitation quasi as divinely ordained hirarchy. Even George W. Bush did present himself as a truely believing Christ who was praying for wisdom every day while he held religiously coined fire and flame talks against his enemies. Perhaps we should rather think back to the origins of modern age when approaching a solution to our current problems. Those who seek for an antithesis to our current society might need to understand the believe of traditionally living and original societies reflected against our current knowledge.