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Baraka (Special Edition) back to product details

Experiment #1
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written by bakedpotato December 22, 2004 - 6:28 PM PST
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
What's that?
Not for everyone, you say?
Thank god I'm not everyone.

Time for bakedpotato experiment #1. Let's put the theory into practice, shall we? The next time you meet someone and aren't sure if you want them to be your new acquaintance/friend/lover, pop in this film, smoke that Marley size jibba you've been saving for a special occasion and watch your partner's reaction.

Bored and antsy? Run, run away as fast as you can.
Solemn, yet confused? Rent them the Qatsi trilogy.
Likens the experience to a religious epiphany? Friends forever.
Starts crying at how beautiful life can be? I think I'm in love ... - 5 Leaves

Counting Breaths (Zen reviews Baraka)
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written by ZButler October 21, 2004 - 7:40 AM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
A film, that on the onset appeared to be something I'd see in one of those earthy, culturally mixed gift shops. You know the ones, complete with Native American art with New Age crystals and other western attempts at aspiring eastern spirituality, all on the same shelf. As it unwound, I was drawn into the images and a musical force that I am very familiar with; Michael Stearns. Michael Stearns has collaborated with my all time favorite composer of sound, Steve Roach. Stearns, is not some fluffy Yanni-esque composer but is one that, for the most part captures the spirit of the music, sounds and culture he mimics. The music fit well with some very astonishing images of our world, our Earth. Baraka is a poem to mankind. With no cues, or indication of where we actually are in the film, Baraka urges us, without words, to seek out, learn and ultimately love ourselves as a whole or suffocate and parish within our own hate and ignorance. The Dolby Digital mix is blistering and my twin subs attacked and rumbled my flat floor with synthesized low drones fused with various chants of the east. A highlight is what appeared to be some call and response chant in Bali with male tribe members. To the typical cynic, a pretty generic, random world-peace riff. To me, who can be a cynic at times bought in to it. Baraka is a nice art piece, a song to humanity. I felt Baraka made its' point and then overplayed a bit though. And like so many well-meaning new age pieces of various forms, it tends to ramble in its' thoughts, thus diluting the impact. A worthwhile journey but I found it a bit circular in its' attempts.

Beautiful and Moving
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written by evilcupcakes June 10, 2004 - 5:15 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
When I first saw Baraka with some friends of mine, we immediately started the DVD over as soon as it was finished and watch the whole thing again. I love this movie, although it may not be for everyone's taste as it can be a bit on the pretentious side. I'm not going to compare this film to Koyaanisqatsi, even though that's an easy comparison to make. This film focus far more on humanity, spirituality, and has some of the most moving footage I have ever seen. I disagree with the reviewer who said the soundtrack wasn't as good as Koyaanisqatsi. Philip Glass is amazing, but this soundtrack is far more organic sounding and compliments the footage very well. Some of the scenes can be quite slow- I mean really there is only so much footage of a rock you can take before you fall into a coma- but the film redeems itself in short order with something powerful and breathtaking around every corner. I highly recommend this film.

beautiful photography, weak theme and soundtrack
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written by yulek October 4, 2002 - 7:07 PM PDT
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Ron Fricke is an amazing visual artist. Ron Fricke is an incredibly creative and original cinematographer. Ron Fricke is not a great director.

Baraka is a beautiful collage of moving imagery, Fricke's trademark time lapse/slow motion wizardry (those 24 hour pans are just mindblowing). What it lacks is any semblence of thread or reason. It's a film very much like Koyaanisqatsi (which Fricke shot as well but didn't direct) in that it provides no plot, no characters, just sound and lucious visuals.

However, Koyaanisqatsi (and Reggio's sequel Powaqqatsi) are far superior films for 2 simple reasons. The most important: Godfrey Reggio's direction. Although Koyaanisqatsi is also at first glance also just a collection of images with music, there's a connection, a theme, a reason, a beat. There's the time lap clouds that fade into slow motion ocean. The speeded up conveyer belts with hotdogs followed by the escalators full of people. There's a buildup and there's a climax. It wells up emotions on a much deeper level than a purely visceral one.

Baraka, on the other hand, seems random. I understand it's unfair to compare these films since Fricke was looking more for the Gaia concept in Baraka. But the result left me feeling like not very much thought went into the editing of the final film.

The other reason why Reggio's movies are superior are the soundtracks. K and P sport incredible scores by Philip Glass, Baraka is almost ruined by some New Age-ish atmospheric shite with little substance.

Okay, so I'm making it sound bad, it's not, I enjoyed viewing it. It's beautiful. Simply beautiful. Emphasis on simply.

It's just not in the same league as Reggio's films or other purely visual films such as Hommage a'Noir

(p.s. At the time of this writing I have not seen Chronos, Fricke's similar film, which seems to have a much better overall theme. It's in my queue tho)

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(Average 7.47)
224 Votes
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