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Baraka Film Review Essay

‘Baraka’ is a non-verbal documentary filmed in 1992 by Ron Fricke. It has no script, no actors and no voice-over. It shows footage of landscapes, churches, ancient ruins, religious ceremonies and cities filmed using time lapse to show the daily lifestyle of humanity exactly as it is. The film begins with a series of slow motion footage of sacred religious ruins which emphasises the calm and peacefulness of such religious places.

It also shows many other aspects of nature including volcanos, waterfalls, clouds, stars and humans in nature for example the Baliness men performing a contemporary chant imitating monkeys. It shows nature which has been untouched by man. Ron Fricke then takes a completely different direction and shows how nature has been manipulated by technology and how man has created war, concentration camps and huge cities.

In this chapter a shot of an elaborate tattoo on a Japanese gangster whom is bathing is compared with the tribal paint on children and adults, two different cultures sharing completely different views on religion and beliefs but expressing themselves in similar ways. Busy subway terminals, hectic rushed streets with people rushing everywhere are shown and in the middle of all the busyness is a monk walking peacefully in time with the bell he is ringing. One perfect step at a time, this shows how people living in the same area can be so different, in the way of dress, work and beliefs.

The final chapter shows old but still living cultures, architectural remains of past civilizations. It shows the efforts of humans to keep our world beautiful and to worship their own gods no matter what culture and thank them for the land they live on and survive off. In one evening sequence a desert sky turns black and stars roll by as they are filmed on a time lapse and the camera moves slowly closer to the trees. The feeling is like viewing the universe through a telescope and that we are all just tiny specks in this great big world.


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