Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia

Director: Ellen Bruno

Institute History

  • 1990 Sundance Film Festival


SAMSARA (Sanskrit) Perpetual repetition of birth and death through the present to the future, through six illusory realms: Hell, Hungry Spirits, Animals, Fighting Spirits, Men and Heaven.
Cambodia has been isolated from the world since the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. Journalists, camera crews and other Western observers have had limited access to the country. Filmmaker Ellen Bruno, who worked in a relief effort on the Thai/Cambodian border in the early eighties, entered the interior in 1987 to document the living conditions of a people devastated by bombings, invasions, civil war, revolution and famine. The film maintains a Cambodian perspective, set within the context of the Buddhist world view, utilizing ancient prophecy, Buddhist teachings, folklore and dreams. The result is a gripping, visually beautiful and personal view of a country in deep turmoil.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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