Samsara – Cambodia

This is another impressionistic film about Cambodia, but it is much more solemn and haunting. It was filmed by Ellen Bruno in 1989, 10 years after the Vietnamese overthrew Pol Pot and set up their own government.

It starts with the following prophecy attributed to a Buddhist holy man:

A darkness will settle on the people of Cambodia, there will be houses but no people in them, roads but no travelers upon them, the land will be ruled by barbarians with no religion, the blood will run so deep as to touch the belly of the elephant, only the deaf and the mute will survive.

We then have interviews, songs, letters, reflections, poetry and other writings from the survivors of the catastrophe set to images of the harsh everyday life of the people.

There are also readings from the scriptures, though these are not quite so appropriate as they are from the Mahayana canon, rather than the Theravada which most Cambodians profess.

At present only an extract is available. I will try to update later with the full film.

 

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Some Stills from the Documentary

 

Samsara - Cambodia

 

Samsara - Cambodia

 

Samsara - Cambodia

 

Samsara - Cambodia

 

Samsara - Cambodia

 

Samsara - Cambodia

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