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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Enlightening
I can gaurantee this is unlike any film you've ever seen before. Baraka is not a movie with a plot or words, but it is one massive work of art, a composition with the scenery as the main "characters". This movie will open your eyes to the fact that there is a whole world of different cultures, religions, and rituals out there. It will give you chills, make...
Published on July 14 2004 by Natalie Baker

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3.0 out of 5 stars Plagiarisqatsi
If "Koyaanisqatsi" (which "Baraka" director Ron Fricke edited) had never been made, this film would deserve great attention. But Fricke re-uses so many of the memorable images from "Koyaanisqatsi" and so artlessly rehashes its style that one wonders whether lawyers were ever involved. The producers, interviewed in a behind-the-scenes documentary, also seem oddly...
Published on June 11 2002 by Ken Broomfield


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Enlightening, July 14 2004
This review is from: Baraka (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
I can gaurantee this is unlike any film you've ever seen before. Baraka is not a movie with a plot or words, but it is one massive work of art, a composition with the scenery as the main "characters". This movie will open your eyes to the fact that there is a whole world of different cultures, religions, and rituals out there. It will give you chills, make you smile, make you gasp, and make you appriciate diversity. Baraka is not a film for everyone. If you are ethnocentric, you might not see the point. If you have a passion to learn and become enlightened, you will love it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty beyond words, July 11 2004
By 
Matthew King (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baraka (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
Baraka is a visual feast like no other, a film that begs to be seen on the largest screen possible so the viewer can absorb the grandiose feel of the images. This is the type of film that IMAX was made for. Filmed on a 70mm camera in a total of 24 countries, it is a dialogue-free film that takes the viewer around the globe into uncharted lands. The first half of the film shows us the natural beauty of earth as we are shown striking images of mountain ranges, deserts, tropical rain forests, volcanoes, solar temples, exotic animals. The whole thing is done to the tune of a spellbinding soundtrack of ambient music, Gregorian chants, flutes and other exotic sounds by world music artists such as Harmonic Choir and Dead Can Dance.
But Baraka is much more than just National Geographic for the visually inclined. Its purpose is to give us a view of the world good and bad. And as the second half of the film unwinds, the tone of Baraka becomes increasingly dark and pessimistic as we are exposed to some of the harsh realities of the world like homelessness, poverty, slave labour, hunger. Horrifying images of tree-chopping, sweatshops, subway-cramming in Tokyo and scenes in a chicken factory will make many cringe and think twice about eating chicken for a while. But sometimes even within these backdrops of despair can be found things that are beautiful such as the joy and happiness on children's faces despite growing up in poverty-stricken 2nd world countries. These kids grow up with practically no material possessions yet they seem so HAPPY, much happier than kids of first-world countries who grow up with any material object their heart desires.
Baraka is certainly not the kind of film we are used to seeing. I struggled with it for the first 10 minutes or so but then immediately fell under its spell and forgot that I was watching a film with no dialogue. Sometimes it's nice to be able to flick off the brain, not worry about following a story and just let oneself be absorbed by what's on screen, and that's what this film does. The only minor squabbles I had were the absence of writing on the screen to let us know where in the world we are and that the film did peter out a little towards the end. Baraka is a film worth purchasing that will stand well to multiple viewings and might even make some think twice about where their real priorities ought to be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing look at life, Feb. 29 2012
By 
Steven Aldersley (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baraka [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Baraka (1992)
Documentary, 96 minutes
Directed by Ron Fricke

There are few films that I think everyone should watch at least once, but Baraka may be one of them. Perhaps it should be shown in schools too? It's arguably the strangest choice on my list.

Baraka is a word in the ancient Sufi language meaning "the thread that weaves life together" and the film contains no dialogue and no explanation. It's a series of images taken from 24 different countries. Some of the images show scenes of animal life or extreme beauty; others show human rituals and the effects of war or poverty. The result provokes a lot of thought if you are open to such things.

Shot on 70mm film, the Blu-ray presentation is among the best live action films the format has to offer. Some of the images are located in places that are not normally accessible to people. An image of an underground cavern springs to mind.

If you follow the film closely, you are likely to be moved. The beauty is breathtaking, but some of the sadder scenes could take your breath away for a different reason. The contrast between good and evil is one of the themes running throughout the documentary. You might also question the path you have chosen in your life when you realize that most humans are continually racing toward something and few stop to appreciate the beauty in their lives.

The special features are informative and almost as interesting as the film itself. If you are curious about where the images came from, the special features answer most of your questions.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spirit of Mother Earth: Her Joy, Her Pain, June 14 2006
By 
This review is from: Baraka (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
This film is a uniquely artistic and spiritual achievement. The images and views are spectacular. The planet is shown in its pristine natural beauty, . The volcanoes of Hawaii are viewed from the air and close up, close enough to see the red hot glowing lava arise from the bowels of Mother Earth. The Iguacu Water Falls in Argentina, a Brazilian rainforest and the Kayapo Village Indians, Monument Valley in Arizona, views of Ayers Rock in the Uluru National Park in Australia are among my favorite recollections of natural scenes. The only accompaniment to this fantastic imagery is the original and outstanding music created by Michael Stearns. There are no comments ... no subtitles, none are required, the scenery and images speak for themselves. The film is extraordinairily beautiful, breath-taking, and sometimes dismaying in its truthful depiction of life on planet earth. The concept development by Ron Fricke and the scene development by Mark Magidson and Bob Green are worthy of recognition in the film industry. I am surprised the film gathered no awards ... Its popularity via "word of mouth" is likely due to the visual impact of visiting twenty four countries on six continents within 104 minutes ...which is a monumental achievement.

Mankind's impact on nature and the environment are clearly brought into focus without a word being uttered: one views burning oil fields in Kuwait, a garbage dump in India where the poor sort through trash, plus a few stark images of Auschwitz and the skulls and photographs of victims of Killing Fields in Cambodia. The reprimand is felt ... the destruction is seen, the concern for the future is real. Yet the film is balanced showing monuments and pyramids from ancient Egypt, the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia ... the terra cotta Warriors in Xian, China ... the Hagia Sophia Temple in Istanbul Turkey ... Mecca, Saudia Arabia ... the Shiraz Mosque in Iran ... St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Israel and Jews prayng at the Wailing Wall. The less than satisfying moments for me were, 1) the sped up traffic scenes in New York, 2) views of people getting on and off a train, likely in Japan, and 3) the monkey chant at one of the Far East Asian temples, it seemed too prolonged, my preference would have been to tour the site instead. Cutting out the first entirely and reducing the time viewing the second and third would improve my enjoyment of the film (4.5/5 stars).

The most memorable scenery includes views of children living in poverty stricken areas of South America, the city landfill in Calcutta, India, where poor people sort garbage, and the funeral pyres along the Ganges River ... Words are inadequate to describe these views. This film displays the natural beauty of earth and man's impact on the environment and the world via astonishing images and scenes ... Despite the diversity of the planet, the interconnectedness of life is so well depicted, the film is deeply felt and should be experienced by more people. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary achievement in filmmaking, Baraka is a thousand sights to behold, Nov. 19 2012
By 
Jamie MacDougall "Film/TV Addict" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baraka [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Shot entirely without dialogue, Baraka is a stunning film that allows its extraordinary images and sounds to transport the viewer all around the world and tell of the formation and evolution of earth, man’s rise to power, life & death, religion, war and the consequences of technology. The film was shot on 70mm film on six continents in 24 countries.

The movie takes viewers on a journey around the world to explore the busiest streets of the largest cities to the most remote corners of the globe. It’s really easy to lose oneself in the grand voyage that offers many sights and sounds that not only highlight the different plights of man and nature, but also offers a clearer and more vivid picture of planet earth and its inhabitants than ever before.

Baraka was restored with an 8k Ultra Digital HD process and the video and audio presentations are both truly reference quality as a result. The colors are vivid and detail is absolutely breathtaking. Special features include a fascinating making-of documentary (77 min) and a short featurette showcasing the restoration process undertaken for the film (7 min).

The film is a great disc to pop in to showcase to friends and family how stunning the Blu-ray format can be. With reference quality video & audio, a couple truly interesting special features and a film that should be experienced by everyone, Baraka easily earns my highest recommendation. It’s an unforgettable experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible., July 8 2009
By 
H. Prince (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baraka (DVD)
If you love the Earth, and if you love Humanity, and if you appreciate the sacredness of life, and if you respect symbols of what is humanity's most profound aspects of being, you will want to view Baraka.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, May 16 2005
By 
Randa. B (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
I saw this movie on T.V and I just had to purchase my own copy. The constant flow of imagery, rich music and cultural elements make you feel as if you are in a dream. It is the most artistic movie I know I'll ever watch. I also like the fact that it is not another boring and subjective documentary; instead you can let your imagination and spirit feel the beautiful sensations being thrown at you. It is a whirlwind of deep emotions that give you shivers while you "experience" this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll watch it again and again, July 4 2004
This review is from: Baraka (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
Lets not kid ourselves. This is awe inspiring and captivating film. This review tackles all those who haven't rated it 5 stars. Most of these have seen earlier work by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke. The only thing that separates these earlier works is that some people prefer them over this. In truth, the films are very similiar in technique, time-lapse and camera angles with the only differences being editing, music and locations.
In earlier work Philip Glass composed the music which was appropriate and brilliant (although now slightly dated) and in Baraka, Michael Stearn tried to meld the music to the location. Michael Stearn -in my opinion- creating the better atmosphere.
If you've not seen any of these following Chronos, Koyaanisqatsi, & Powaqqatsi. Then see Baraka, as it is the superior film and tends build on methods, techniques and angles visited in the previous films. I'd also like to mention Alton Walpole who doesn't seem to get much say in reviews, but he's also had an active part in all of these films and part of the 3 main people behind these films.
When you see it make sure that it's on the biggest screen possible, with the best sound system possible in a dark room. And let the music and film take you on the journey that is Baraka.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing, Feb. 1 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Baraka (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
Everything from Whirling dervishes to Snow Monkeys to chick Factories etc. There are three segments that are sinply amazing. The first where it shows people practicing the ancient religions, like the Wailing Wall, Islam, christianity etc. Then the another segment where it introduces Aborigines, Masai, and an Amazonian tribe and then cuts to the rituals or dance and song of all three. The third is of human suffering and claustophobia, where the suffocating urbanity of cities are shown along with the cruelty of chick factories, making comparisons, then a Japanese butoh preformer is shown in a silent scream of agony used in this film as a reaction o the bustling pointless and suffocation. It then cuts to the dumps in India where people scuttle around picking through garbage, it then goes to poverty and the homeless and lingers on the cold and dispassionate stares of Bangkok prostitutes, it then cuts to three Japanese Butoh Preformers who preform a slow and lingering and wavering dance of pain and anguish so beautifully done, with their chalky faces and clothes they look like they are in a trance, it then ends all the while using a beautiful and haunting score it then goes over endless planes and the burning fields of Kuwait, Nazi Death camp Auchwitz and the Cmbodian killing fields. This movie is amazing, it displays unity adn diversity. GEt it or see it in your theater, whatever just watch it man.
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4.0 out of 5 stars YES! YES! but�, Dec 22 2003
By 
Dana Garrett - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Baraka (Widescreen) [Import] (DVD)
The cinematography is breathtaking and the sound track captivating. Often the film moves from scene to scene by visual analogies that are nearly seamless. In the midst of the films evident spiritual concerns, we witness some of life's cruelties: the hungry and the homeless mostly. Even here the film deftly finds beauty in the faces of the poor without, in any way, masking the dire human consequences of their poverty. In all of these respects the film is quite exceptional.
In some obvious ways Fricke doesn't trust the viewer's ability to understand the film's spiritual theme. It heavily contextualizes its theme by beginning and ending the film with people engaged in spiritual practices, almost as if it is announcing "This film will be about spirituality" and, later, "Don't forget this film was about spirituality." In that respect, Fricke made the film too easy. Also, Fricke relies too heavily on time-lapsed photography. That would be a perfectly acceptable technique if Fricke had done something new with it. But how many times have we seen nature scenes with clouds rushing overhead or the rapid time changes from day to night and back to day again?
New age types will find the film flawless because it mostly privileges non-western spiritual practices. Hedonists (like me) will enjoy it as well: the film is unquestionably a visual feat.
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Baraka [Blu-ray]
Baraka [Blu-ray] by Ron Fricke (Blu-ray - 2008)
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