For six minutes and fourteen seconds, this wordless journey follows animals as they become meat. It’s a music video of sorts. It’s a trailer for a documentary. And it’s safe to say it’s an argument for vegetarianism or at least for an awareness of where your meat comes from and what it takes to get it into your belly.
The video is mostly time-lapsed images of animals becoming meat on a plate. It’s fascinating. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s set to a hypnotic world beat. Some of the shots are staggeringly beautiful, some are perversely strange, obviously some are going to be unsettling, but they all seem like an honest account of how an animal becomes the meal that becomes the person eating it. It’s the cycle of life, eating itself.
The first shot is worth it alone. It’s strange, and interesting, and then it fast becomes absurdly funny thanks to some camera-work worthy of Kubrick. Also, the whole piece ends on a joke, so stay till the end.
That clip is from a documentary called Samsara. The film was made by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, the same documentary filmmakers that made Baraka and Chronos, two other silent anthropological studies of humanity recorded in luscious imagery. From the website for the film:
SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.
Here’s a more life-affirming trailer for Samsara. Enjoy!