Baraka - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Baraka Reviews

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January 8, 2017
A visual feast that conveys the evolution of the world over a series of speechless, video collages.

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.
August 20, 2016
I watched it in open air movie show by Scarborough Film Festival. Amazing Experience.
July 30, 2016
The world, the nature, the people, mankind, spirits, winds, motion, changes, evolution, ancient, new, old. All shown in a spiritual beautiful way, giving a tremendous broadened vision of life here on earth. Simply magnificent.
½ May 6, 2016
Visually stunning but not as powerful or coherent as Samsara.

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.
April 23, 2016
Quite a good example of the kind.
January 24, 2016
Ron Fricke was the cinematographer for the classic photography film, Koyaanisqatsi (1982), directed by Godfrey Reggio. That earlier film had no plot but the theme of a "world out of balance" was clear and the music by Philip Glass was memorable and now immediately recognizable. Although Reggio followed up with two additional qatsi films, Fricke was not involved. Baraka was Fricke's own "sequel" to the earlier work, although Baraka's theme (or themes) is much less obvious. Instead, this film (and the subsequent Samsara from 2011) is all about the images - and they are gorgeous, especially in this remastered blu-ray version. However, without a clear indication of where each sequence was shot - and the images come from 24 different countries on 6 continents - viewers are left to speculate. Therefore, we simply talked aloud to the movie (and each other) about the locations and the possible connections between sequences (cutting from a battery hen farm to Japanese commuters squashed into a train makes some kind of statement, I guess). The music is a bit less compelling than that of Philip Glass but occasionally rises to the occasion. All told, Baraka gives you a chance to be fully amazed by the wonders of this world and the varied people in it - circa the early nineties. As such, we sometimes reflected upon whether all these wondrous things are still with us twenty-something years later.
½ October 24, 2015
One of the best films I've seen in a while
May 29, 2015
Postcards of this world... Both modern and old. The great, the not so great, the bad and the ironic. Must watch.
April 14, 2015
Made me realize once again how great is God. Exeptional cinematography aswell!
March 23, 2015
Haven't really sat for more than 10 minutes after the ending of any other film.
½ March 18, 2015
Probably one of the most contemplative and beautiful film I have ever seen in my life. This beautiful shot and produced film is a little jewel that one must have seen at least once, if one wants to understand how the world function, how humanity has created the modern society we live in, instead of opting to remain closer to nature like some ethnic groups have. The film shows how the modern world is turning us into robot like creature and make us lose our humanity. I loved the fact that such a film does not really openly criticize but juts show images and manages to tell a story about the world, the reality we have created for ourselves and the options that still exist to return to a more symbiotic way of life.
February 9, 2015
I would go so far as to say it's aesthetically perfect. Beyond that, though, it has a tendency to shout its rather odious message of "religions and native people are awesome, and modern society is garbage; fuck Japan and its technology, we should all be monks and bathe in the disgusting contaminated water of the Ganges." And that's not cool.
½ October 5, 2014
How do I not compare this to Koyaanisqatsi? I don't think this is as good as that. It's still a good experience. It was a bit heavy-handed for me. I mean, how can something like this not have an agenda? I just thought it could have had a lighter touch. The music didn't really appeal to me and I guess I never knew until now that I don't find tribal/atmospheric music very stimulating. At least not this particular music. There was one song that I loved that sounded a bit Native American. Some segments made me roll my eyes. some bored me. The ones that I responded to the most was the cathedrals just cause wow! You don't have to try with those to get my attention though. I thought the segment of those men waving and sort-of chanting and half the group leaning with the other half standing and waving their hands yelling thing was really cool. I have no idea what they were doing or the purpose of it. But it made me smile and I really was struck with the sounds they made and the movements they made together. Like the idea of what people can accomplish together that they can't individually. And then, I don't know if I like this but the segment that juxtoposed chicks being sorted in a factory with urban living. Wow, that really says something. Like people are going through the motions of life, helpless to do anything about it. Especially the shot of all the chickens in cages cutting to a similarly composed shot of apartment buildings framed through a window. I was bothered by seeing the chicks treated that way, though I don't really think this was trying to say anything about animal rights so much as compare us to the chicks. So cinematography was great. Didn't care for the music much at all, and I think in something like this music is even more vital than usual. I liked some of its ideas but others didn't seem to be as fully formed.
August 25, 2014
"Baraka" proves to be one of the more uniquely if somewhat loosely structured films out there, as it contains no dialogue and only images along with some nonverbal sounds to be heard. The film also jumps from scene to scene quite often, as it takes place over six continents and many nations in a relatively fast pace. While you do certainly have to pay attention to get the deeper meaning of what these various scenes, you don't have to pay attention too hard as those cleverly nonverbal and indirect ways the film lets us know about these multiple countries is quite effective for the most part (as a couple scenes do seem to drag on or be a little unnecessary). The cinematography is beautiful as the sceneries and global homelands are portrayed very well. They can even be shown as the harsh truth at times all on its own, from farmers scavenging for what they can salvage at local dump to baby chicks being tossed around (and even getting their beaks burnt) in a factory as a comparison to how fast paced and organized modern cities are in that particular country. All these reasons show how this film really does live up to the saying "show, don't tell" as there's method to the madness where most scenes have something to imply and/or flow with another scene for comparison. Whether comparison of rural traditional lifestyles to urban modern lifestyles or religious traditions around the world, the message is clear that no matter where you live we all have enough similarities at heart that overshadow our cultural differences to belong to the human race. Even though I thought the film could've spent more time on global issues than they did, the ones they do show along with what they else have to offer are good enough reasons for me to recommend this film (unless you only watch films for entertainment values).
½ August 21, 2014
A fascinating journey through the lens of a camera free from any unnecessary narration so you can simply absorb the sumptuous visuals.

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.
May 31, 2014
Originally shot in 24 countries on six continents, Director Ron Fricke calls his film 'Baraka' "a guided mediation on humanity"; it is, indeed. Even with no narrative or a regular flow of events, the breathtaking shots from around the world show the beauty and destruction of nature and humans. Whether one's high or not high, for an intelligent person who has interests in the fields of art, nature, human life and culture, this film is a trippy meditation on our wide and varied existence on this planet. 'Baraka', in Sufi, means "a blessing, or as the breath, or essence of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds." From meditative slow motion to bewildering time-lapse photography, Ron Fricke (cinematographer and director of the film) captures the scenes with such earnest interest and curiosity, it's like watching memories of places you haven't even been to, and firing various random thoughts in your mind that you never even complete. The incredible soundtrack by Michael Stearns which is sort of a hybrid world-music, and on-site recordings help push us to the dimension where all these thoughts take place.

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.
½ April 22, 2014
Much like Fricke's other work, Baraka is a powerhouse of visual excellence, showing off everything from nature to religion, unexplained places on earth to horrendous imagery in plain sight. Its a wonder and a joy to watch. The music accompanies the visual aspect pitch perfectly and the contributors do a great job of staying as naturalistic as possible on camera, yet again though the same problem with Samasara also occurs here, its running time. There is no doubt that every single shot in this piece is expertly crafted and its content either harrowing or outright gorgeous, however after the hour mark, it really starts becoming difficult to watch, the wonders of the world where Fricke go to still stay impressive but its hard for a viewer to take so much of it in, in one sitting that by the end you really are slightly underwhelmed by the what you are seeing, even though it is clearly stunning. If both Baraka and Samasara were half an hour shorter they would be master piece must owns for everyone on the planet, however due to the running time, only people with vast qauntities of patience will be able to stomach this film in one sitting.
April 7, 2014
Unlike anything I have ever seen! Amazing cinematography! Opened up my mind to reality in other parts of the world. The scene with the chicks broke my heart. Didn't like that scene, but that's reality... While others are worshipping their gods, living their humble lives, and carrying on traditions, capitalism and greed still exist.
March 30, 2014
Ron Fricke released my appetite for non-verbal documentaries through "Samsara" a week ago.
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!!!
½ March 30, 2014
Comment expliquer qu'un film pareil soit demontÚ par les grands journaux et encensÚs par les petits ? ca n'a juste aucun sens, beaucoup moins chiant et limite que samsara, Baraka fait le tour du monde sans parler mais avec des images fascinantes
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