Baraka [Re-Release]

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1992

Directed by Ron Fricke – Written by Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson, Genevieve and Constatine Nicholas

Documentary

It has been 20 long years of huge leaps forward in both technology and innovation since this film was released. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything as cinematically beautiful or technically accomplished. When you photograph on 70mm film, you shoot on a format that even today can’t be close to equalled by anything digital. This format is then given to a man, happy to wait for certain seasons and lunar phases to make sure his imagery is exactly how he wants it. What you are left with is something most definitely not for everybody, but for those it does interest, a piece of work to cherish.

Baraka has no plot, arguably no story, no actors, no voice over, no dialogue; it is instead a series of images juxtaposed together to represent the themes and evoke emotion – Baraka is pure cinema.

Sadly, I believe a majority push this film aside because “nothing happens” – you’ll probably only share this view if your appreciation of cinema ends with gawping at ever growing explosions. I’m not one who feels a need to burden this film with spiritual and religious ideologies, even if the director himself wants to. Instead, I am much happier to appreciate the film for what it is, an awe-inspiring journey through worlds you’re unlikely to ever see, shown to you in the most beautiful way possible.

In honesty, what you take away from this film relies so wholly upon what life experience you bring to it that we’re likely to have completely different views on the representations and meanings behind what Fricke is showing us. What we will agree on though, is that this is an outstanding piece of work that needs to be seen by anybody interested in cinema.

I’d Baraka gets you going, do make sure you check out Fricke’s most recent film, Samsara (2012), the review of which you can read here.

10/10

– Kieran Stanworth

 

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