Baraka (1992)

Tagline: A world beyond words.

Synopsis: Baraka is a movie that defies plot, genre and explanation to a certain degree.  One might describe the film by the sum of its parts, that it is merely a collection of expertly photographed scenes.  But after your initial viewing, or sometime later, you will discover a side to the world as you know it that delves into the very core of our being.

Meat & Potatoes: My first experience with Ron Fricke’s Baraka was over ten years ago upon the recommendation of a friend who had actually traveled to some of the locations in the film.  I was and continue to be drawn to this film as both an inspirational journey and an exceptional representation of visual anthropology.  I have watched the film many times, the layered perspective as observer and participant in the timelessness of places that at once are far away and then slowly, rhythmically become a land of faces and traditions rooted in each of us.

I feel that Baraka is a framework for the juxtaposition of the natural.  This film is less about an overall statement or summary account of the state of being, reminding me again of a prevailing undercurrent of timelessness, and more a cinematic journey that the collective ‘we’ are part of for 96 minutes.  As a visual artist myself, I didn’t have any trouble following the changing planes or the transitory passages.  I felt as though I was conditioned my the film to the natural ebb and flow of life.  In the beginning, the expression in the face of the snow monkey suggests he is paused in contemplation, followed by various  figures who reappear and gaze knowingly at us as if mirrors into which we can gaze at our own perplexities, doubts, and the mileage of our lives.  Unlike lesser films, Baraka does not tell us but rather shows us the interstitial, the often marginalized spaces in and around us to which we are all a part of.

The most present lesson that I gather from this film is one of our interconnectedness.  We as members of the varied cultures of the world, however different in appearances, manner, and spirituality, are part of a much larger whole that has a rhythm and an energy that cannot be dismissed.  This connection is challenged often and repeatedly, routinely dissected and distanced by the unnecessary, but deep within the earth and her people there is a pulse that each of us feels, a harmony that unites us.

Bits & Bites:

Similar Films: ->here<-

The spirit of Baraka ->here<-

The Closer: Baraka will change the person you thought you were. A MUST watch.

About rorydean

Rory Dean is a multi-medium artist, writer and new media strategist with a background as a creative consultant and technology liaison in the San Francisco Bay Area. His broad experiences and specialties include print-to-web publicity, promotions and design marketing using traditional and social media networks. As a motion pictures and television professional, his short films, productions and commercials have screened to domestic and international audiences. His connections to a diverse client base include artists, entertainers, corporations, non-profits and everyday people.. Dean is co-owner and founder of Dissave Pictures, a boutique production company focusing on audio, video, photography and multi-media designs. Dean's personal and professional background includes dreaming and avid notebook journaling, creative and copy writing, promotions and marketing, audio/video production, photography, videography, editing, web design and new media. He’s also a fan of collaboration and knows when to turn the reigns over, offer feedback, lead the team and step aside. His portfolio includes print, online, film, video, photography, graphic design and promotions. He’ll show you. He has a book and everything. "When not juggling various online worlds, I do a pretty good mime – but that’s another story."
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2 Responses to Baraka (1992)

  1. Mark Walker says:

    “… an exceptional representation of visual anthropology.” This line alone sums this up perfectly Rory. Great review my friend. I don’t understand why some people have dissected it the point of criticism. This collection of images gives us a glimpse into our souls. You must be numb not to marvel at our world or feel it’s power.

    • rorydean says:

      Exactly! I’ve been writing and rewriting an article on expectations and the death of the movie experience for some time now and perhaps it’s long overdue. There are some films that wash over you like a fine mist that quickly drys and becomes part of you where ever you are, whomever you call out to in the dark and for whatever reason you sat down to watch it in the first place you are forever changed. You don’t and perhaps shouldn’t try and figure it out. Consider yourself lucky to be that in-tune with the possibility and relish it as it is so fleeting. cheers0>

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