Baraka [WS]  (REGION 1) (NTSC)
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Average customer rating:
4.9 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : B00005M91K
Manufacturer : MPI Home Video|
Release data : 25 September, 2001
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I saw this film a long time ago, and spent years looking for it. Now, thankfully, it's readily available. I have shown it to lots of people of all ages and from all walks of life, and every one of them, without exception, has agreed that it is brilliant. Any review will give you a description of this film, so I won't bother repeating them. Suffice to say, it's once seen, never forgotten. I defy anyone not to find this movie one of the best pieces of cinematography ever. The musical score alone is worth the price. I also have koyaaniqatsi by the way, which although great in its own right, doesn't match this masterpiece. Absolutely breathtaking.
There ought to be a sixth star for something like this!
According to the sleeve, this film is 92 minutes in length. When the credits appeared, I could not believe that anything more than an hour had passed.
I bought this film on spec because of a special offer whilst buying Koyaanisqatsi (also filmed by Ron Fricke and one of my favourite films ever) and have just watched it for the first time. I am now buying a second copy for my mother's birthday.
This film manages, without a word of dialogue, or a single actor, to show us, simultaneously, both the diversity and the similarity of the entire human race.
The haunting soundtrack fits effortlessly into a kaleidoscope of images, showing mankind at it's best, worst and simply trying to survive. Shots of Kuwait during the gulf war, Ayers rock, pilgrims at both the wailing wall & Mecca, battery hens, Rio de Janiero slums and so much more, are expertly liked together in such a way that cities, countries and continents flow seamlessly together into a whole that leaves the viewer stunned and breathless.
There is not a single bad shot in the movie. No matter how bleak the subject matter, it is photographed with such care and compassion that one is left with an impression of beauty and wonder.
If Ron Fricke were to film the 3rd sequel to an abyssmal, 'made for TV' no-brainer, it would be hailed as the next Citizen Kane. That he doesn't, is a credit to him. That, instead, he can continue to make films such as this, is a credit to the world.
Baraka is a documentary without narrative that effortlessly keeps viewer glued to the screen for 1.5 hours. The film freely glides over continents exploring our universe and human relationship with nature and spiritual (perhaps at the end of the film a viewer may come to a point that the two are identical).
From technical perspective this is a superb cinema with always picturesque shots, montage, smart speed up effects, 70mm film adding extra colour and expressiveness to each shot. The choice of music perfectly supports the mood of every scene.
The film can easily leave the viewer in semi-hypnotical state and calls for many viewings - which are guaranteed to breed more thoughts about our place in creation and the choices humanity made in its development.
At some point viewers will have to notice that this film is a doctrine of certain kind. As with any purely expressive (lacking narrative) work, this doctrine is not defined clearly, but nevertheless is NOT subtle. Ron Fricke allowed for Eastern religious experiences to dominate the footage and manifestly looked at modern post-industrial society as chicken incubator (viewer will undoubtedly note the scenes I am talking about). One cannot help thinking that director's preferences are obvious.
While we may be willing to dispute film's hidden (?) agenda, we will give full credit to director's mastery and unique character of this beatiful magical film.