Baraka Review

published on 2015-04-22

TL;DR: Riveting without a plot and stunningly beautiful

If you’ve ever seen a film that has amazing cinematography with a less-than-stellar story and were still glad you saw the movie, then Baraka is for you. It ramps the story down to… oh, about 0 and the cinematography up to 11. It’s made simply for the gorgeousness of the world and is completely successful at it.

Baraka poster

I’ve seen this several times and have been mesmerized by it every time; it’s one of the few movies I absolutely had to buy on Blu-Ray because of the sheer quality of the visuals. Speaking of, it’s been scanned at 8k resolution, 4x the resolution of 4k (because that’s how resolution works), which would be amazing to see. It was shot in 70mm film to great effect; everything is just beautiful.

If I’ve already seen it so many times, why am I reviewing it now? Because I just watched almost all of it again with Cora on my lap, and it was pretty awesome watching it with her. Since there’s no dialogue we were able to talk about all the things which were happening on screen, and I realized what a cool tour of the world the movie is. Not only does it take you all over the world and show all sorts of stuff, Baraka also does so by dividing it up into themes, showing some of the best and worst of the human experience.

It’s also amazing at pairing things which contrast or, even better, have crazy similarities. Busy insects next to people commuting in cities like Tokyo. A computer component assembly line next to a low-tech, person-driven cigarette factory. Various people in religious garb and some rituals they have. Japanese tattoo next to tribal paint of aborigines. Talking about all of this with Cora really helped to bring out the themes the filmmaker Ron Fricke introduced.

So, just to get a sense, have a look at a few of the screenshots. Copyright the folks who made Baraka, obviously.






You can find many more screenshots, plus a much more… official review here. Or, you could, you know, watch the movie…

All in all, it’s just an incredible piece of cinematography and is always, as I said before, stunningly beautiful!