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2 items from 2009

Documentaries of bliss

19 November 2009 3:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The re-released cinematic head-trip Forest of Bliss adheres firmly to the purer school of documentary-making

The lowest form of documentary involves a presenter setting off on a journey to discover why he or she didn't yet know something about which we, the audience, were already adequately informed. Near the opposite end of the documentary spectrum are those quiet, almost anonymous films such as Être et Avoir or Sleep Furiously, in which a community is observed and recorded with minimum fuss and no overt manipulation. Beyond those are films – so seldom seen that one could be forgiven for thinking them extinct – with no presenter, no commentary, no characters, no specific setting and no narrative or story. Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi (a Hopi Indian word meaning "life out of balance"), made in 1982, is the classic of its kind: a compilation of ravishing footage of cities and natural wonders, seen at night and in the blaze of day, »

- Geoff Dyer

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Myles of Footage: Baraka

4 June 2009 1:46 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

It's very hard to categorize a film like Baraka. Because of its particular characteristics - a complete lack of a verbal component, a non-linear 'plot' and a broadened coverage of our planet - it doesn't fit it with any existing genre. With that being said, I wouldn't want to have to put a label on this beautiful production. Its simplicity and remarkable ability to convey the idiosyncrasies of our planet have made it a favorite among film enthusiasts since its release in 1992. In many ways the highly acclaimed Planet Earth series (released last year by the BBC) owes much of its success to Baraka, mainly for the cinematography and time-lapse photography it uses. When Baraka director Ron Fricke (Koyaanisqatsi, Chronos) [1] set out to make this film he had a clear idea of what he was doing. According to the featurette, his goal was to "reconnect with humanity and communicate on a level which, »

- Myles Dolphin

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