Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative documentary film directed by Ron Fricke. The title Baraka means blessing in a multitude of languages, deriving from the Arabic[2] بركة, descending from a common Semitic ancestor and cognate to the Hebrew Berakhah.

The film is often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio for which Fricke was cinematographerBaraka was the first film in over twenty years to be photographed in the 70mm Todd-AO format, and the first film ever to be restored and scanned at 8K resolution.

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Content[edit][edit | edit source]

Baraka is a documentary film with no narrative or voice-over. It explores themes via a kaleidoscopic compilation of natural events, life, human activities and technological phenomena shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period.

The film is Ron Fricke’s follow-up to Godfrey Reggio’s similar non-verbal documentary film Koyaanisqatsi. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio’s film, and for Baraka he struck out on his own to polish and expand the photographic techniques used on Koyaanisqatsi. Shot in 70mm, it includes a mixture of photographic styles including slow motion and time-lapse. To execute the film’s time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements.

Locations featured include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in KyotoLake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smouldering precipice of anactive volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Masai in Kenya, and chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery.

The film features a number of long tracking shots through various settings, including Auschwitz and Tuol Sleng, over photos of the people involved, past skulls stacked in a room, to a spread of bones. It suggests a universal cultural perspective: a shot of an elaborate tattoo on a bathing Japanese yakuza precedes a view of tribal paint.

Music[edit][edit | edit source]

The score by Michael Stearns and featuring music by Dead Can DanceL. SubramaniamCiro HurtadoInkuyoBrother and David Hykes, is noticeably different from the minimalist one provided by Philip Glass for Koyaanisqatsi. The film was produced by Mark Magidson, who also produced and directed the film Toward the Within, a live concert performance by Dead Can Dance.

Reissue[edit][edit | edit source]

Following previous DVD releases, in 2007 the original 65 mm negative was re-scanned at 8K (a horizontal resolution of 8192 pixels) with equipment designed specifically for Baraka at FotoKem Laboratories. The automated 8K film scanner, operating continuously, took more than three weeks to finish scanning more than 150,000 frames (taking approximately 12–13 seconds to scan each frame), producing over 30 terabytes of image data in total. After a 16-monthdigital intermediate process, including a 96 kHz/24 bit audio remaster by Stearns for the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack of the film, the result was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in October 2008. Project supervisor Andrew Oran says this remastered Baraka is "arguably the highest quality DVD that's ever been made".[3] Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert describes the Blu-ray release as "the finest video disc I have ever viewed or ever imagined."[4]

Sequel[edit][edit | edit source]

A sequel to BarakaSamsara, made by the same filmmakers, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 and released internationally in August 2012. Also shot in 70mm, Samsara explores an arguably darker, updated version of many of the same themes as Baraka.

Reception[edit][edit | edit source]

Baraka has a 83% of Rotten Tomatoes out of 18 reviews.[5] Roger Ebert included the film in his "Great Movies" list.

Filming[edit][edit | edit source]

The movie was filmed at 152 locations in 23 countries.[6] Some locations include: ArgentinaAustraliaBrazilCambodiaChinaEcuadorEgyptFranceIndiaIndonesiaIranItalyJapanIsraelKenyaKuwaitNepalPolandSaudi ArabiaTanzaniaThailandTurkeyUnited States and Vatican City.

Africa[edit][edit | edit source]

USA[edit][edit | edit source]

South America[edit][edit | edit source]

Asia[edit][edit | edit source]

Oceania[edit][edit | edit source]

Europe[edit][edit | edit source]

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