Ben Oliver

Banner image for Samsara


Now that I’m dead, what can I do?
20 February 2024

In Laos, a group of Buddhist monks help a soul in transit through the bardo, into another body. After an interlude, we find them reincarnated on the beaches of Zanzibar.

I don’t remember the last time a feature length film asked me to shut my eyes for 15 minutes, but I went with it and I like it.

Part ethnography and part testament to the wonders of Technicolor, Samsara asks the viewer to float along at its gentle pace as its events unfold. I was with it until the final third where there’s a slight, but jarring, shift in tone that was perhaps deliberate but kind of lost me.

Samsara is a really stunning film though, and a thoughtful essay on passing into the afterlife and the meeting of tradition and modern life. I’m sure if you drop a pill and watch this it’ll blow your mind.

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