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Showing 1-10 of 473 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 827 reviews
on January 2, 2015
BARAKA is a 1993 film, shot by Ron Fricke in some 24 countries, that is a sort of documentary on three universal themes: 1) the grandeur of the natural world, from the peaks of Everest to low deserts, 2) the oneness of the human race illustrated by juxtaposing almost identical shots from vastly separated cultures, and 3) the desire for a connection with something transcendent. Shot in 70mm film, watching the Bluray on a projector or a large-screen television offers one of the most visually stunning cinematic experiences around. There is no dialogue or voiceover, no characters, but the enormous amount of footage is presented here in a way that gives BARAKA a gripping dramatic arc, and it's a sequence that, on repeated viewings, increasingly seems the one logical way in which all this could have been edited.

With unquenchable anthropological curiosity, Fricke identifies commonalities that link us all. A Japanese mafioso's tattoos, for example, are followed immediately by a shot of the same on an indigenous resident of Papua New Guinea. But it's not only exotic tribalism. A shot of affluent Japanese schoolgirls looking at the camera is mirrored later by an almost identical shot of low-caste girls in Calcutta. Nonetheless, don't expect a mushy call for tolerance; Fricke's editing indeed makes a convincing case for appreciating differences, but there is nuance.

Fricke's occasional use of footage from churches, mosques, temples, etc. is less an advocacy for belief in religion than an extension of the commonalities he identifies. Human beings have an urge for contemplation as solace among the complicated and sometimes senseless world around them, and they draw on inner sources of mercy to go against the cruelty that people show to their fellow man. The consequences of a world cut adrift from calm and compassion are shown during a heartbreaking sequence that ranges from Auschwitz and the Cambodian killing fields to homeless across the globe and teenage prostitutes in a Bangkok nightclub.

The footage is accompanied by an array of musical pieces which help to set the mood for each series of shots: minimalist loops form the soundtrack for scenes of industrial production, we hear harsh bagpipes as the camera tours the burning oil fields of Kuwait, and Dead Can Dance's "The Host of Seraphim" plays during an indictment of poverty worldwide. Some of musicians involved are rather New-Agey and would never have a place in my music listening, but when integrated into the film they are remarkably effective. The 5.1 surround sound excellently balances cinematic effect and faithfulness to the scenes portrayed.

I've watched BARAKA many times now, each time discovering many new things and always being moved, whether to pity (Calcutta garbage-pickers) or wonder (the unreal glittering hall of Shiraz's Shahcheragh mausoleum). I would certainly rank it among my favourite films. Will you like it? That's hard to say. BARAKA is my go-to Bluray when friends and family want to try out my fancy home theatre setup with HD projector and surround sound, and while some of them have been just as stunned as I am, others don't really care. Apparently many people, even those with a well-rounded education, don't have much curiosity for things outside their own everyday experience, and so Fricke's survey of world cultures doesn't resonate with them.

(Note that while Fricke created a 2011 follow-up called SAMSARA, I would recommend staying away from it, as it is less focused and only repeats BARAKA to diminishing effect.)
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on April 16, 2017
This is a brilliant film and a regular in our Blu-ray player. The first time I saw it was more than twenty years ago and it left a lasting impression on me. After the release of Samsara we decided to order it for our home movie collection, and in many ways it is my favorite of the two films, offering a more intimate look at the inhabitants of Earth. I found it to be more of a sequel to Samsara, instead of a prequel, and we are routinely turning it on and settling into a quiet meditative space while savoring every image, every sound, every breath. Having been a longtime fan of the music of DeadCanDance and Lisa Gerrard, both films are to be treasured. I hope there's atleast one more of these in the works, sometime on down the road. Thank you Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson!
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on September 25, 2015
The visuals are stunning...but oh-h so frustrating to watch...because there is NO dialogue. The accompanying music is haunting at times and always interesting. However, whatever you want to know about the film you learn only by viewing the extras on the disc, and THEN the real appreciation for the film grows exponentially!! When you hear what the cinematographers and producers went through to achieve this incredible collection of shots, you will likely want to view the film again, and will then have a keener sense of why it is so special. Personally, I had a hard time getting into it at first because it went all over the place, with no explanation of what you were viewing, where it was filmed, or why, but after listening to the extra feature, I thoroughly appreciated the film. It is truly unique...and really quite stunning!!
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on March 16, 2017
Beautiful depiction of a great variety of different cultures/events. I first saw this during a college class and it made a huge impression. After purchasing, I asked my sister if she wanted to watch this with me. I could tell she agreed just to be polite, but by the end of the movie she was really interested and said she was surprised by how good it is.
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on April 16, 2017
I use the word "profound" about once a year. This video gets the one for this year! I imagine an otherworldly alien being sent to Earth with the simple assignment to bring back the very essence of Earth's physical being and the essence of its living inhabitants. No need for a plot, or a real beginning or an end, and there is no dialogue. I know of no other movie experience like this. One for the ages. Utterly mesmerizing and deeply fulfilling. Reality becomes magic.
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on September 21, 2014
Bought this to show off my new top of the line TV. Needed something with a crazy nice picture and resolution, and this is definitely it. I've never seen a crisper picture. And the settings are amazing. Beautifully shot, amazing captures of people, animals, places all over the world. The only reason I took off a star is that it would be helpful if some of the locales were identified. You can guess some of the more obvious locations, but without any narration or captions to show you where they are shooting, you're left in the dark. That doesn't take away from this video, but curious individuals would want to know.
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on April 13, 2017
This movie has no plot, but watching it is an absolutely beautiful experience. The imagery in this film is breathtaking, and the soundtrack is one of the best I've ever heard.
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on January 11, 2014
This and his other video are so cool, by this I mean it is like watching a dream. And as with most dreams there is a message buried inside the scenes, that can be viewed differently by each of the viewers to mean something different. Does that make sense? If not them watch the video and be amazed by the quality of the images to the message it provides. If that does make sense watch the video and see the what is going on with others living on this planet and see how much we are different and the same. The movie will leave you changed, hopefully for the better, like all good films.
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on May 22, 2014
This is a blu ray must for anyone who is looking for beautiful picture. Any time people say to me "I don't see the difference between blu ray and standard tv" I show them this. The movie it's self is great (in my opinion). I watched it originally in my philosophy of religion course In college. Years after graduation I was looking for blu rays that would look good on my new plasma I bought. This blu ray is highly rated for picture since its a 8K transfer. They REALLY took a lot of time on the picture quality of this film, and the film itself is excellent. It feels like a philosophical planet earth. I would say that it's not for children though.
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on October 20, 2013
This was an amazing movie! The organization and message that is delivered without a single word, is definitely something that is not an easy task to pull off, but this movie does not disappoint. If you want to see the world from a different perspective, experience an unspoken look into the different cultures of the world, and see how culture clearly does not change the human spirit, you will enjoy this movie. There are a few scenes in the movie that will make you wonder why we behave the way we do, when it is clear that our similarities as humans are not fully seperated by culture, but only appear that way on the outside. One thing to keep in mind when watching this movie, it is not a new movie, the filming was done in 1993, so it's not going to have the sound and detail that a newer BluRay would have. However, it is extremely well done, and if you enjoy documentaries and seeing the world clearly as it is, and not how it is made out to be in the media, etc... don't miss out on this one!
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