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  • Nov 3-5

Baraka

baracka movie

Bara­ka is a film with no nar­ra­tive, com­ple­ment­ed by the hybrid world-music of Michael Stearns.  A col­lec­tion of expert­ly pho­tographed scenes of human life and reli­gion, it explores themes via a kalei­do­scop­ic com­pi­la­tion of nat­ur­al events, human activ­i­ties and tech­no­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­na shot in 24 coun­tries on six con­ti­nents over a 14-month peri­od.  Bara­ka brings togeth­er a series of stun­ning­ly pho­tographed scenes to cap­ture what direc­tor Ron Fricke calls “a guid­ed medi­a­tion on human­i­ty.” Cam­eras show the world, with an empha­sis not on “where,” but on “what’s there.” Named after a Sufi word that trans­lates rough­ly as “breath of life” or “bless­ing,” Bara­ka is a tour-de-force in 70mm that unites reli­gious rit­u­al, the phe­nom­e­na of nature, and man’s own destruc­tive pow­ers into a web of mov­ing images. “The goal of the film,” says pro­duc­er Mark Magid­son, “was to reach past lan­guage, nation­al­i­ty, reli­gion and pol­i­tics and speak to the inner view­er.”

Fricke’s cam­era ranges, in med­i­ta­tive slow motion or bewil­der­ing time-lapse, over 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 of the cam­era. In one evening sequence a desert sky turns black, and the stars roll by, as the cam­era moves slow­ly for­ward under the trees. The feel­ing is like that of view­ing the uni­verse through a pow­er­ful tele­scope: that we are indeed on a tiny orb hurtling through a star-filled void.

Run­ning time: 1 hour 36 min­utes.