The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or Bardo Thödol, describes the three transitional phases between death and rebirth. In the first part of Samsara, which comprises two narrative sections and a sensational centerpiece, a young man in Laos reads the book to an elderly woman. He befriends several monks—young males like him—from the nearby monastery, and they meet at the magnificent waterfalls of Kuang Si to discuss their plans for the future. The woman, meanwhile, is ready to take leave of her present existence.
The story continues on the other side of the world, the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, where we see a goat kid being born and coming under the care of an Islamic family. But this section only starts after filmmaker Lois Patiño has presented the viewer with an awe-inspiring transitional section that can only be fully experienced with closed eyes. It transforms Samsara into more than a film—this is a unique cinematic experience, a meditative journey exploring different perspectives on life and death.