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Baraka [DVD] 
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Directed and photographed by Ron Fricke (one of the main collaborators on Godfrey Reggio's 1982 masterwork 'Koyaanisqatsi'), 'Baraka' was filmed in 70mm in 24 countries over 13 months, and explores man's relationship with nature. Covering the ancient and the modern, the technological and the natural, the film uses music and images to chart the cycle of life and modern man's destructive relation to the planet.
Baraka is a non-narrative visual poem addressing, according to director Ron Fricke, "humanity's relationship with the eternal." The title means "breath of life" or "a blessing" and the film unfolds into a tapestry of global images shot over 13 months in 24 countries, comparable to, but far more ambitious than Koyaanisqatsi (1983) which Fricke also wrote, edited and photographed. Like Bernardo Bertolucci's similarly meditative Little Buddha (1993), Baraka was designed as a powerful audio-visual experience, one of a handful of films made in the 1990s to revive the immensely cinematic 70mm process.
Filled with staggeringly beautiful vistas which are striking, rich in detail and immaculately composed, the screen is complemented by an immersive Dolby Digital soundtrack fusing natural sounds with a haunting world music score. (At one point composer Michael Stearns combines Japan's Kodo Drummers, a Scottish bagpipe ensemble and a Tibetan water music orchestra.) Baraka encourages the audience to think or be entranced, and depending on mood and circumstance it can enthral or bore. With its epic, trans-human scale, vast formal grandeur, depersonalised abstraction, startling juxtapositions and avowed ambition to be the ultimate non-verbal film, Fricke has created a visionary experience akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
On the DVD: Baraka is accurately transferred at the original 70mm theatrical ratio of 2.2:1, not as the packaging says as 2.35:1. The picture quality is superlative, with virtually no flaws and razor-sharp images. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is equally outstanding. The extras are presented at 4:3 with letterboxed clips, and being video based offer lower image quality. These special features play for approximately 25 minutes and, apart from the original theatrical trailer, are divided into three sections containing significant overlaps between the material. The "making of" documentary and the collection of to-camera comments from members of the production team are both interesting, but the behind the scenes location filming footage adds little substance. --Gary S DalkinSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
You can see that Fricke has almost put his life into the cinematography, which will endlessly take you closer to the edge of you seat; with every shot revealing a new and astounding outlook of this beautiful world. I have never felt such an array of emotions from a single movie! From sand desserts, to forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, the sky, people at prayer, to people at war; each shot is uniquely precious with a character of its own.
The music is elegantly wrapped around the visuals; sounding similar to God Speed You Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky, which alone would take you on a journey of a lifetime. This inspired soundtrack adds the extra dimension to the stunning photography.
I would recommend you find the biggest TV and the best sound system, turn up the volume, shut the curtains and swell into your surroundings. Never to return.
Baraka (a Sufi term for 'blessing') takes us on an audio visual kaleidoscopic journey on an epic scale at times through 150 different locations throughout the world. Filmed on 70mm to give a brilliant picture resolution which is outstanding on this remastered version as is the music. Audio is very good. Lots of religious chanting, singing and sounds of nature. Colours are so vibrant and detail extraordinary! There is no narration or talking in this film, just imagery and a beautiful music score. You can make your own mind up as to what is being conveyed here.
The opening scene of a snow monkey sitting so peacefully in a hot spring in Nango, Japan is fantastic. Not a ripple on the water, so relaxed and at peace. I felt like getting in myself! There's a cracking piece of the Kekac monkey chant, hypnotic.
I won't go on about the locations so as not to spoil it but I had to look some of them up which was interesting. One thing. . .keep an eye out near the end for the Imam Mosque Isfahan in Iran. A masterpiece of Persian architecture with it's seven colour highly polished tile mosaics. They almost look like diamonds. Breathtaking images indeed.
This is a must have bluray for your collection.
When I first moved to HD, I was hoping that Baraka would get the treatment it so rightly deserves, but knowing the high costs involved, I thought it would never happen. Well, obviously someone out there has deemed it worthy of that cost, and I can only thank them for it.
If you haven't seen Baraka but are interested in seeing it, you really should pick up a copy. It's the perfect demonstration of HD, although that is secondary to the work done by Ron Fricke and his crew.
If you're already familiar with Baraka and wondering simply whether this is a Blu-ray worth picking up, please, take my word for it, it'll be a while before this is beaten. I just hope you have TV with the specs needed to really get the best out of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A masterpiece of global proportions! Epic and far reaching, with some thought-provoking ideas and presentation. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Victor Burgess
This was beautifully packaged, nice personal touches such as the ribbon and postcard, felt very personal, well done! I would certainly buy from this supplier again!Published 6 months ago by Pauline Clark