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A 70mm Film Project by Ron Fricke

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Written by: Ron Fricke Issue 39 - June 1995
Dear friends

On the following pages you will find my proposal for "Samsara". It is difficult to express the degree of enthusiasm that I feel for this project. Photographed in 70mm, in many different countries, "Samsara" will be a celebration of world unity, a theme that is exceptionally timely as we approach the year 2000. "Samsara" will be a unique two hour experience and should be presented as a film event. As such, it has potential to play once a night or once a week for years rather than for a brief season. My last film "Baraka", was launch pad for "Samsara", which will delve deeper into my favorite theme: humanity's relationship to the eternal.


Ron Fricke
CA 94608

Phone +1 (510) 655-5282

More in 70mm reading:

"Samsara" Cast & Credits
"Baraka" in a Swim Bath
"Baraka" book
"Samsara" Outline
Ron Fricke

Internet link:



Samsara is a Tibetan word that means "Wheel of Life", a concept both intimate and vast, obvious and oblique. It is the perfect subject for Ron Fricke, a filmmaker who has awed us time and again with exquisite images of the mundane. a filmmaker with an uncanny ability to reveal the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our Universe and our lives.

"Samsara" will be a "Fantasia" of the 1990's, a two hour odyssey that will transform viewers as they are swept along on a journey of the soul. Expanding on the blueprint laid out in "Baraka" (1992), "Samsara" will further explore the themes of interconnection and transcendence with a focus on cycles. Neither a documentary, nor a travelogue, "Samsara" will take the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Four ancestor spirits will accompany us as we follow several families from different cultures through the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. We will se clearly how this cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet and links us to the rest of the nature.

Fricke firmly believes that nonverbal films must live up to the standard of great still photography which reveals the essence of a subject - not just the physical presence, but the inner workings as well. In order to accomplish this goal, he relies on the careful balance of three elements: cinematography, editing and music. Fricke will film "Samsara" in 20 - 30 different countries in the (65mm) 70mm format using a camera designed specifically for this project. Improving on the camera that he designed and built for "Baraka", Fricke's new motion control time-lapse camera will allow him to shift perspectives to reveal extraordinary view of ordinary scenes. He will film as if painting, with a camera that allows him to layer in images. The score for "Samsara" will encompass everything from classical to ethnic music. It will concentrate on vocals and natural sounds.

After the fantastic response to "Baraka", Fricke is confident that audiences are ready for films with a life affirming message. To him, filmmaking has always been more than a technical exercise. "When I create films, I look at the theatre as a temple. The audience sits in the dark with their senses alert and their defenses down. It is a perfect opportunity to bypass the viewer's personality and adress their inner being".
"Samsara" news

Director/DOP Ron Fricke is in India scouting locations for his next 70mm project "Samsara". He will be back in the end of February. "Samsara" is a nonverbal two hour 70mm film on the cycle of Birth, Death and Rebirth. "Samsara" is a Tibetan word that means "wheel of life".

Photographed in 70mm, in many different countries, "Samsara" will be a celebration of world unity, a theme that is exceptionally timely as we approach the year 2000. "Samsara" will be a unique two hour experience and should be presented as a film event.

Issue 36, 1994

"Baraka" on video June 13, 1995.

Producer of the film "Baraka" Mark Magidson has informed us, that the 1992 70mm stunner will be released June 13, 1995 on LaserDisc (CLV 7060 UPC 0 30306- 7060-6 1) and VHS video (MP7060 UPC 30306- 7060-3 0). The suggested retail price is $39,98 for the LaserDisc and $29,98 for the VHS video tape. The LaserDisc is letterboxed and in Dolby Surround stereo. The transfer was done at Crest in Hollywood in the UltraScan 70 process using the 65mm IP element.

Issue 38, 1995
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Updated 07-01-23