We pick up on our opening night theme of connectedness with BARAKA, an extraordinary jewel of a film. It's a guided meditation on the interdependence of all life, and it's probably unlike anything you've ever seen before.
Named after a Sufi word that translates roughly as "breath of life" or "blessing," BARAKA is director Ron Fricke’s impressive follow-up to Godfrey Reggio’s iconic KOYAANISQATSI. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio’s film, and for BARAKA he struck out on his own to polish and expand his photographic techniques.
The result is a tour-de-force that Fricke describes as a cinematic guided meditation, a film in which we are invited to consider humanity’s relation to the eternal. Shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period, BARAKA unites religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man’s own destructive powers into a web of riveting moving images, all set to a beautiful musical score.
Hal Hinson of the Washington Post raves: “Watching BARAKA, a nonverbal symphony of exquisite images, you experience a feeling of intense empowerment. As one spectacular image follows another, nearly every one lucid and sharp and magnificent, you feel as if you can go anywhere and see anything...nothing in this epic visual poem is less than extraordinary.”
Fricke’s camera takes us, in meditative slow motion or bewildering time-lapse, to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, Lake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smoldering precipice of an active volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Masai in Kenya, chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery…and on and on, through locales across the globe. To execute the film’s time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements.
Hal Hinson of the Washington Post continues: “The film allows us to see the actual interconnectedness of all things in the world, and to appreciate its patterns and symmetries, and its innate sense of balance and proportion. Fricke has said that BARAKA was intended to be ‘a journey of rediscovery that plunges into nature, into history, into the human spirit, and finally into the realm of the infinite.’ And miraculously, his bold intentions were realized.”