The film is beautiful experience. It spawned a number of knock-offs and a sequel by the same filmmakers, Samsara (2011). I couldn't help thinking that The Tree Of Life (2011) ripped off elements from Baraka. However, I have not found another voiceless film that compares to this original masterpiece.
A documentary on...everything. No narration, no annotations or sub-titles, just images. We see majestic mountains, wildlife, religious and cultural ceremonies and customs, geological phenomena, landscapes, human habitation and how this impacts on nature, industry, urban living, poverty, military weapons and the effects of war, monuments to atrocities, art and architecture. The images are taken from all over the planet. While they might seem random at first, there are links between the different scenes...
Quite amazing, visually: well selected and filmed images. It's like a National Geographic video without narration. Interesting themes too: nature vs mankind, war and its effects, the extent of human cruelty, the extent of human creativity, the superficiality and dullness of our daily lives.
However, I found the individual scenes a bit ponderous at times, as if the director lingered on one subject too long to take up time. Also, the themes weren't always that clear, profound or well thought out.
The problem might be that I watched Samsara (also directed by Ron Fricke and released a year after Baraka) before Baraka, thus some of the novelty had worn off. Samsara seemed more coherent in its message and had better pacing. Maybe if I had watched them in reverse order, my feelings on the two would be reversed.
Overall, well worth watching. A very original documentary.
Unfortunately, it lets it's bias show a little when it starts to juxtapose the beauty of nature against scenes of inner cities, but this is truly a fascinating watch all things considered and it's a must for anyone who wants to see how good their HD television looks.
The film begins with a few shots of the mountains, then moving onto showing a snow monkey relaxing in the hot springs of mountains in Japan; it looks so calm and deep-in-thought, reminiscent of human life. It goes on to show so many diverse places and peoples, it's really difficult to list all of them here because there are so many scenes that are awe-inspiring. But just to mention, the most spectacular and memorable sequences include: the Kecak dance (Balinese Monkey Chant) at temple in Tampaksiring (Bali, Indonesia) - dance of Maasai tribe in Kenya - Japanese Buddhist monk on a pavement in walking meditation, with a bell an bowl in hands, asking handout in such a peaceful way - the mass and systematic breeding of chicks in a factory - scenes of photographs and abandoned buildings of Auschwitz in Poland (concentration camp) and Killing Fields in Cambodia (Khmer Rouge torture chambers) - dance of Dervishes in Istanbul (Turkey). And for me, the most powerful and absorbing stretch of sequences start with a father and son on a cycle, on a street in India, and ending with the Butoh dance of Japan; a hauntingly beautiful and enigmatic score accompanies these scenes, which makes the whole sequence out-of-this-world.
It's thousands of stories etched into a single movie. Legacies, history, cultures, diversity, pain, suffering, joy, humanity - it's like watching and experiencing so many things at once. It makes you proud to be a part, though the tiniest, of all this. If one can watch only one movie before he dies, this should be it. If an alien race comes to this planet and wants to learn about us, this is the movie they should begin with. Before dying, this is what I would want to see last, thinking all the while - though I may not have been to these places and seen or known them firsthand, but to be able to know of their existence is enough for me.
It's one of the best non-verbal documentaries ever made. Watch it on the biggest screen and the best resolution possible, because it's the kind of experience which never leaves your mind, and delights each of your senses. To not have seen this visual masterpiece is to deny oneself the knowledge and understanding of our very existence.
I realized that if we capture a moment in time in different places on Earth there's a rhythmicity and synchronism in our actions, emotions, behaviors. And actually, after this guided meditation, each of us has its own Gange where is getting washed/ clean and at some time is throwing his corps.
"Baraka" requires just a smidge of patience to suck you into it. But once it does you cannot avert your eyes. The most spectacular images ever. Not an ounce of pretention to it. No Hollywood bull. Brilliant. Moving music. Do not miss this!!!