The word Baraka means "blessing" in several languages; watching this film, the viewer is blessed with a dazzling barrage of images that transcend language. Filmed in 24 countries and set to an ever-changing global soundt... more »rack, the movie draws some surprising connections between various peoples and the spaces they inhabit, whether that space is a lonely mountaintop or a crowded cigarette factory. Some of these attempts at connection are more successful than others: for instance, an early sequence segues between the daily devotions of Tibetan monks, Orthodox Jews, and whirling dervishes, finding more similarity among these rituals than one might expect. And there are other amazing moments, as when sped-up footage of a busy Hong Kong intersection reveals a beautiful symmetry to urban life that could only be appreciated from the perspective of film. The lack of context is occasionally frustrating--not knowing where a section was filmed, or the meaning of the ritual taking place--and some of the transitions are puzzling. However, the DVD includes a short behind-the-scenes featurette in which cinematographer Ron Fricke (Koyaanisqatsi) explains that the effect was intentional: "It's not where you are that's important, it's what's there." And what's here, in Baraka, is a whole world summed up in 104 minutes. --Larisa Lomacky Moore« less
"The words mesmerizing, beautiful and astounding cannot begin to describe this wonderful DVD. Ron Fricke is to be commended highly for this moving work of art. I have a wide-screen HDTV and found the DVD to be much more moving than the VHS version I had seen on old TV in the past. If you have a choice--definitely go to the widescreen DVD version. The Dolby sound also was much enhanced over the previous version. I firmly believe ALL PEOPLE should view this film at least once in their lifetime--free from all external encumbrances--this film requires your undivided attention.All of a sudden, the world becomes a much smaller planet--one in which we all live in our own way and one in which every living being is important.If you are prone to cry at beauty--have a box of tissues handy. If you are not prone to cry at films, have a box of tissues handy anyway. You will probably need them. This is a very moving film. I was particularly impressed with the burning oil field scene because of the intense feeling the film created. Viewing this film should be a requirement for living on the planet."
VASTLY IMPROVED VIDEO AND SOUND QUALITY!
P. Kowalsky | Manassas, VA United States | 11/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I will not attempt to extol the virtues film itself (what more can I say than has already been said?), but of the new collector's edition: I too have the original DVD release, and the VHS release. This new transfer is AMAZING, and is exactly what the first DVD release should have been... PRISTINE video (very few artifacts, little or no pixelation), and IMMACULATE audio (crisp, clean, and great presence without sounding "over-processed"). If you have both versions and can't tell the difference, then it's time to watch it on a large screen TV, and clean yer ears out! The improvements are painfully obvious. This is a truly incredible film, and finally justice has been done with the fantastic quality of the consumer version. Like someone else said, give your old copy away, and BUY THIS VERSION now! I'm glad I picked it up, and you will be too."
The best movie I've ever bought
Chad Loder | Lomita, CA USA | 01/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an incredible, serious, and beautiful film. The imagery is astounding and often thought-provoking. The music is also great and matches the film very well -- if you like Peter Gabriel's "Passion" (the instrumental soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ), you will like the score for Baraka.I disagree with the reviewer who said that Baraka is just an imitation of Koyaanisqatsi. If you'd bother to read the credits, Ron Fricke (the creator of Baraka) was also responsible for ALL of the filming for the -qatsi trilogy (which includes Koyaanisqatsi). Baraka is a different kind of movie, with a different, more subtly communicated message.Baraka was shot in the (very expensive) 70mm format, which yields a very high quality picture, especially when transferred to DVD. Ron Fricke is a master of the 70mm format, and he actually designed many of the camera rigs used in Baraka (including the very high quality time lapse footage). Give Fricke some credit for having learned something in the almost 10 years since Koyaanisqatsi was filmed.If you are expecting vapid, New Age eye candy, this is not the movie for you. If you want a beautiful film that will change you, a film that you can watch again every 6 months without getting tired of it, then buy this DVD. I have the original DVD (very hapy with it), so I can't say whether the film transfer quality in the Collector's Edition is on par. Maybe one of these days I'll buy the Collector's Edition and see which one I like best."
Watch on the largest screen you can!
FrontPage | Baltimore, MD United States | 09/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And crank down the bass a little (if you have a subwoofer). This movie gives the person with their DVD players, SUV and well- paying job to see something in this world that the viewer most likely has not seen, which is an intimate look at cultures, environments and nature the world over. With no concern of SARS or an expensive plane ticket, you feel afterwards that you truly experienced a global tour.Baraka begins at a rather cautious pace, and as each scene passes by your vision, the intensity and depth slowly but steadily increases. It's a bit hard to describe, but I feel in a way that it causes the viewer to look inward at his/her own view of what the world is about and what life means. In a way, it compells you to ask yourself some deep questions. Make sure to keep your attention on watching the movie with NO interruptions to get the full effect. Pausing for phone calls, snacks or bathroom breaks is verboten, so get everything done first!Baraka unfolds in the early morning and as the film passes through the first 10 minutes or so, you see examples of different beliefs and religions mixed with clips of nature. Eventually the two collide. And by the end, you're amazed at the solar eclipse and lunar starfields. Yet Ron Fricke's intent wasn't to make any statement at all. There are elements of almost every type mixed into the film from peaceful co- existance to conflict (no graphic footage, don't worry), faith, technology, beauty and struggle. In some ways you may feel helpless after watching the slow decay/destruction of the world at the hands of mankind, yet Fricke also inserts visions which somehow reassure that nature ultimately holds the key to the fate of human beings since she is infinitely more powerful (and is much more patient).If you get the chance, sample Baraka (a national video rental place has it on stock in special interest, so you can take a peek at it), and you'll more than likely want to own this. The majority of filming is either in slow motion or in time lapse, with not a single word spoken. Fricke and Mark Madigson developed some camera and dolly techniques that created the smoothest time lapse photography available, and some of the filming they've done you may recognize in some commercials or even movies. NOTE, this is for the earlier MPI version DVD (DVD7060), which is somewhat similar in content, and the never version claims a new 70mm transfer and digitally- remastered audio. One thing I noticed that wasn't noted in the specs on the Collector's Edition is they didn't mention a full screen version; the older DVD is double- sided, one for the widescreen and the other for pan & scan.Other suggestions: Koyaanisqatsi (deals mainly with the industrial cultures, cinematography by Fricke, 1983), Chronos (by Fricke, 40 minutes, 1985 which has music a little dated, but the film techniques are similar) and Powaqqatsi (1988). Of these, Baraka is best, IMHO.Tidbit: There was also a coffee table book with images from scenery in Baraka."
I was speechless.
FrontPage | 04/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Baraka is a profound statement about humanity and our relationship with this world, both disturbing and enlightening. The film contrasts the havoc that we wreck in modern day against the peaceful existence of more primitive times. No other film has ever conveyed the diversity of our world as well as Baraka. Ron Fricke masterfully frames each and every sequence to create suspense and tell a story with no dialogue. I can only imagine he has put his heart and soul into the film in order to achieve the fantastic images. Combined with a soundtrack that is painstakingly constructed to match the film's mood, I was amazed that a wordless film could evoke such emotion in the viewer. One of my favourite movies -- I was deep in thought for many days after having seen it. It is unfortunate to see this movie on video -- it belongs definitively on the 70 mm screen."