1152 – Samsara (2011 documentary)

Samsara is a 2011 American non-narrative documentary film of international imagery directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson. Samsara was filmed over a period of five years in 25 different countries around the world.

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The official website describes the film, “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 humanity’s spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation.” (wiki)

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1146 – Baraka (1992)

Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative documentary film directed by Ron Fricke. The film is often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio for which Fricke served as the cinematographer. It is also the most recent film to be photographed in the 70mm Todd-AO format, and the first film ever to be restored and scanned at 8K resolution. (wiki)

Named after a Sufi word that translates roughly as “breath of life” or “blessing,” Baraka is Ron Fricke‘s impressive follow-up to Godfrey Reggio‘s non-verbal documentary film Koyaanisqatsi. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio’s film, and for Baraka he struck out on his own to polish and expand the photographic techniques used on Koyaanisqatsi. The result is a tour-de-force in 70mm: a cinematic “guided meditation” (Fricke’s own description) shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period that unites religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man’s own destructive powers into a web of moving images. Fricke’s camera ranges, in meditative slow motion or bewildering time-lapse, over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, Lake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smoldering precipice of an active volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Maasai in Kenya, chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery…and on and on, through locales across the globe. To execute the film’s time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements of the camera. In one evening sequence a desert sky turns black, and the stars roll by, as the camera moves slowly forward under the trees. The feeling is like that of viewing the universe through a powerful telescope: that we are indeed on a tiny orb hurtling through a star-filled void. The film is complemented by the hybrid world-music of Michael Stearns. ~ Anthony Reed, Rovi (rottentomatoes)

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908 – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

ballad_of_buster_scruggs_xlgThe Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a 2018 American western anthology film written, directed, and produced by the Coen brothers. It stars Tim Blake NelsonLiam NeesonJames FrancoBrendan GleesonZoe KazanTyne DalyHarry Melling, and Tom Waits, and features six vignettes that take place in the American frontier.

The film was based on Western-themed short stories written by the Coens over a period of 20 to 25 years (accounts vary) that differ in mood and subject.

“All Gold Canyon” was based on a Jack London story.

“The Gal Who Got Rattled” was inspired by a story by Stewart Edward White and based in part on contemporaneous accounts, including those of heated arguments over pets.

the Coens intended the stories to be seen together, structured them that way in the script they submitted to Annapurna, and shot the script as written. (wiki)

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746 – The Island (2005)

timespace coordinates: 2019 Arizona > Los Angelesposter2_lThe Island is a 2005 American science fiction thriller film directed and co-produced by Michael Bay. It stars Ewan McGregorScarlett JohanssonDjimon HounsouSean BeanMichael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi.

In the story, Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) struggles to fit into the highly structured world he lives in, isolated in a compound, and the series of events that unfold when he questions how truthful that world is. After Lincoln learns the compound inhabitants are clones used for organ harvesting as well as surrogates for wealthy people in the outside world, he attempts to escape with Jordan Two Delta (Johansson) and expose the illegal cloning movement.island_finalpeq_by_edgarascensao-dciwq7yThe Island has been described as a pastiche of “escape-from-dystopia” science fiction films of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Fahrenheit 451THX 1138Parts: The Clonus Horror, and Logan’s Run. (wiki)

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721 – Thelma & Louise (1991)

timespace coordinates: 1991, a fictional route between Arkansas and the Grand Canyon

Thelma & Louise is a 1991 American neo-feminist road film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, two friends who embark on a road trip with unforeseen consequences. The supporting cast include Harvey KeitelMichael Madsen, and Brad Pitt, whose career was launched by the film.f5aeaa5a08645a1cb5367eb3bd704354At its release, the film stirred controversy. At the intersection of several genres, it is now considered a classic. It influenced other films and artistic works and became a landmark of feminist film. In 2016, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. (wiki)

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699 – The Lone Ranger (2013)

timespace coordinates: 1933  San Francisco / 1869  Texaslone-ranger-finalThe Lone Ranger is a 2013 American western action comedy directed by Gore Verbinski from a screenplay written by Justin HaytheTed Elliott, and Terry Rossio. Based on the radio series of the same name, the film stars Johnny Depp as Tonto, the narrator of the events, and Armie Hammer as John Reid, the Lone Ranger. It relates Tonto’s memories of the duo’s earliest efforts to subdue local villainy and bring justice to the American Old WestIt is the first theatrical film featuring the Lone Ranger and Tonto characters in the more than 32 years following William A. Fraker‘s 1981 film, The Legend of the Lone Ranger.

Duh_lone_rangerJohnny Depp’s make-up and costume were inspired by artist Kirby Sattler’s painting “I am Crow.”s655673610523816213_p22_i6_w864

The film was originally supposed to have a plot focusing more on supernatural elements and Native American mysticism. This mainly would’ve taken the form of werewolves, which would’ve explained the silver bullets. However, this draft was supposedly part of the initial 250 million dollar proposal that Disney quickly cancelled after John Carter (2012) underperformed. When the project was revamped to meet Disney’s approval, it came more in line with the current script. (read more: Trivia)


“nature is indeed out of balance”

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662 – Blueberry (2004)

spacetime coordinates: Wild West in the 1870sblueberry0403Blueberry (French: Blueberry: L’expérience secrète) is a 2004 French acid western directed by Jan Kounen. It is an adaptation of the Franco-Belgian comic book series Blueberry, illustrated by Jean Giraud (better known as Moebius) and scripted by Jean-Michel Charlier. However, the film has little in common with the source material. The film starred Vincent Cassel as the title character along with Michael Madsen and Juliette Lewis. Although the film is a French production, the film is in English to match the story’s setting in America’s Wild West in the 1870s.

Jean Giraud, the illustrator of the original Blueberry comics, appears in a cameo role in the film, while Geoffrey Lewis, who had appeared in several spaghetti Westerns and his daughter Juliette Lewis play a father and daughter in the movie.blueberry-promoThe movie features several elaborate psychedelic 3D computer graphics sequences as a means of portraying Blueberry’s shamanic experiences from his point of view. Jan Kounen, the director of the film, drew upon his extensive first hand knowledge of ayahuasca rituals in order to design the visuals for these sequences, Kounen having undergone the ceremony at least a hundred times  with Shipibo language speakers in Peru. An authentic Shipibo ayahuasca guide appears in the film and performs a sacred chant.

The film has managed to build a reputation as a cult success and as a trip filmTetsuo Nagata‘s cinematography is also referred to as ‘sublime’. Tripzine noted the film has “the best, most accurate, most lovingly crafted shamanic rituals and psychedelic visuals ever created for home viewing”, and praised Blueberry’s uniqueness among westerns for having a climax that revolved around shamanic ritual rather than a gun battle. (wiki)

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