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09 JANUARY 2013

Samsara: a visual meditation on modern living

"Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man's spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.

The filmmakers approach non verbal filmmaking with an understanding that it must live up to the standard of great still photography, revealing the essence of a subject, not just its physical presence. SAMSARA was photographed entirely in 70mm film utilizing both standard frame rates and with a motion control time–lapse camera designed specifically for this project. This camera system allows perspective shifts to reveal extraordinary views of ordinary scenes. The images were then transferred through the highest resolution scanning process available to the new 4K digital projection format that allows for mesmerizing images of unprecedented clarity. SAMSARA will be a showpiece for the new, high–resolution 4K digital projection, the HD format, as well as standard digital and film projection."

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TAGS

2011 • 4K digital projection • 70mm film • assembly line • Baraka (1992) • cabinet of curiosities • Chronos (1985) • desertdocumentary filmethnographic film • ever turning wheel of life • factoryfactory workerfood productiongrotesquely beautiful imagery • guided meditation • human experience • human robotics • humanityindustrial ageindustrialisationintensive agricultureintensive farminginterconnectedness • life-cycle • Lisa Gerrard • manufactoriesmanufacturing processes • Marcello De Francisci • Mark Magidson • mesmerising images • Michael Stearns • modern centres • modern living • modern technology • motion control time-lapse • natural world • non verbal filmmaking • production linerhythm of the planet • Ron Fricke • rubbish • Samsara (2011) • spirituality • Super Panavision 70 • sweeping landscapes • tableau vivanttimelapse • timelapse photography • traffic congestiontravelogue • visual meditation • visual patternwordless

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 JANUARY 2011

8 1/2 film intro shows protagonist in arrested moment

"Opening the film is a title card introducing the producer, the title of the film, and the film's director. That cuts to a tracking shot of a car in traffic, and then another cut to a shot from above the cars to show the congestion (this shot tracks them from right to left). At the end of that shot, there is a cut to the back of the main character, Guido's, head. The camera then moves to the left and shows the two people in the car sitting next to him. The camera comes back to Guido in his own car as he begins wiping the inside of his windshield. Smoke begins to fill the car. Guido plays with the buttons in the car and desperately tries to escape. There is another cut to a shot of people hanging out of a bus and people stuck in their cars. They seem to be frozen in time. The film then cuts to another shot, this time from outside the car, of Guido trying to get out. The camera pans to a man who is staring at Guido from another car. After we see Guido pounding at the window, the shot cuts to a man touching a woman's arm in another car. The camera then pans to more cars waiting in traffic and then finally comes back upon Guido's smoke–filled car. The shot then cuts to Guido finally making it out of the car through the window. He climbs atop the car. Then the shot cuts to another shot of a man in a different car watching him intently. The camera zooms out and we see the bus and then Guido somehow floating atop the cars, out of the traffic. The shot then cuts to his legs and tilts upwards to show his entire backside, his coat waving the wind, and him slowly raising his arms towards the sky. Then there is a cut (fade–in) to Guido flying through the sky, then another to just the clouds. As the camera glides through the clouds, it is ambiguous of whether there is another cut or if the camera just happens upon a structure of some sort. Then there is a solid cut to a man atop a horse that is galloping on a beach. We see a man in a white shirt tugging a rope. The shot then cuts to another shot of a leg with a rope wrapped around it, and we can see the man in the white shirt and the man on the horse on the ground in the background. The scene then cuts again to the man in the white shirt running around the beach tugging on the rope, and then again to the foot with the rope (which the man is trying to get off). The sequence then cuts again to the man who was on the horse holding papers, then to the body of the man whose foot was tied to the rope being tugged down and falling into the ocean."

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TAGS

1963 • 8 1/2 • arresting momentsarresting time • beginning sequence • black and whitebuscarclaustrophobic spacesdream sequencedrivingfamous sceneFederico Fellinifrozen in the momentfrozen in timefrozen momentgassing • Gianni Di Venanzo • in media resinfluential works • intro sequence • introduction • introductory sequence • Italian cinema • Marcello Mastroianni • motorway • opening sequence • Otto e mezzo • threshold spacetime slowed downtraffic congestion • traffic jam • trapped

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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