Directed By: Ron Fricke
Tag line: "A world beyond words"
Trivia: Was the first film in over twenty years to be photographed in the 70mm Todd-AO format
For his 1985 film, Chronos, director Ron Fricke traveled the world, and revealed, in glorious IMAX, the beauty and splendor of Planet Earth. With 1993’s Baraka, he again journeys across the globe to capture one stunning image after another. Only this time, he’s not just focusing on landscapes; he’s paying close attention to the inhabitants as well.
Baraka isn’t a movie you can easily synopsize, so, instead, here are some of the facts:
Baraka (which means “blessing” in Sufi) is a documentary that avoids narrative structure, presenting instead a series of images from around the world. Shot in breathtaking 70mm, it takes us to 153 locations across 23 countries, and explores many different aspects of the human condition, including religion (St. Peter’s Basilica, the Imam mosque in Iran), culture (Aboriginal tribal dances, Japanese theater), even commerce (from a computer factory in Japan to a California chicken farm). With a soundtrack that features music from a variety of global sources, Baraka celebrates life, death, and the world we live in.
To try and choose a single sequence from Baraka to categorize as its "most stunning" is an exercise in futility. The film offers up one amazing image after another, from lands where time stands still (Kenya, Utah’s Arches National Park) to the hustle and bustle of big cities like Tokyo and New York. We visit several of mankind’s greatest achievements (the Pyramids in Giza, Vatican City) as well as areas forever marred by hatred and violence (Auschwitz, the Sonsam Kosal Killing Fields of Cambodia). Simply put, Baraka is a lesson in humanity from beginning to end.
Guiding us through areas most will never visit and introducing us to cultures that have stood the test of time, Baraka is much more than a documentary; it’s a global expedition, a travelogue, and a time capsule all rolled into one.
It’s also an experience you won’t want to miss.