A young Tibetan monk is torn between his monastic life and the wife and child he loves. Tashi is a dedicated Buddhist monk, who has almost reached a state of enlightenment. Then he leaves the monastery to succumb to worldly temptations.
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They say it is not the tale but in how it is told. Samsara's simple story holds few surprises but washes over you with frames filled with an overwhelming and at time otherworldly beauty and scenes that fill you with wonder, lust, happiness, a nearly crushing sorrow and finally a sense of hope and the possibility of forgiveness. A masterwork.
Simple but effective. Embellished by the alternately ornate and austere beauty of the Himalayas, the plot traces a similar dichotomy. To get out or dive in? The Daoist tendencies of Tibetan Buddhism urged Tashi to get out *by* diving in. But he was a poor renunciate: not only could he not squash his desirous urges, he couldn't stop his doubts. His doubt, his moral seriousness, was his downfall. He cried too much.
Dude, make up your mind. ;-) Seriously, though, this is a fine film, with a useful life lesson ('moral' is such an overused word). Shawn Ku and Christy Chung are both believable in their roles, showing that there are flaws in whatever path we choose, and it is up to us to find our way and to treat well the people we meet along the way. Christo Bakalov's cinematography is fantastic. Cyril Morin's music is hypnotic.
What a pleasant discovery. Lyrical and lovely, Samsara is a simply told tale at its core. The age-old tension of reconciling higher love with the need to be loved is made current while still being true to the essential question.
The movie isn't perfect. A few scenes are clumsily acted and directed, but they fade into the distance at the thought of this beautiful film.