Without words, cameras show us the world, with an emphasis not on "where," but on "what's there." It begins with morning, natural landscapes and people at prayer: volcanoes, water falls, veldts, and forests; several hundred Balinese Hindu men perform kecak, the monkey chant. Indigenous peoples apply body paint; whole villages dance. The film moves to destruction of nature via logging, blasting, and strip mining. Images of poverty, rapid urban life, and factories give way to war, concentration camps, and mass graves. Ancient ruins come into view, and then a sacred river where pilgrims bathe and funeral pyres burn. Prayer and nature return. A monk rings a huge bell; stars wheel across the sky.Written by
(1) A copy of Baraka. Steal it if you have to. (2) The biggest, clearest TV you can find and 5.1 surround. (3) A fabulously-rolled spleefer as long as your arm. (4) Phones off the hook, and an empty house with the lights out. (5) A recliner with a seat belt. (6) 96 minutes of your time.
I am 30 year old factory worker who loves NASCAR and Hockey and own 3 carbureted cars - 1 parked in my backyard that hasn't ran in 2 years AND I could probably pass for the guy who might spit as I offer you confusing directions if you stopped to ask, but I have never seen anything anywhere remotely close to this masterpiece. It's so good that it runs through my head while I'm slugging away at work covered in factory germs. The Burgan oil fires (the fire we possess) to the Australian steel workers (our ongoing need to keep the fire going) to the Auschwitz gas ovens (what we choose to do with it) is pure cinematic genius. For me, the Whirling Dervishes forward is my favorite scene. Where it slides from the mosque in Mecca to the cathedral ceiling at the Vatican is absolutely mind-bending. I feel like crying every time I watch it, yet I'm not all that religious.
Aside from all this film brings with it, it's not for everyone, and I can understand that. I was 17 when it came out and probably could have cared less. But for a blue-collar hick in need of a shave like me, I'd take this movie to prison if I was allowed.
When you see it for the first time, don't ask questions. Turn the volume up as loud as you can and just watch it. Baraka will provide you with everything you need. 10 thumbs out of 10, and not just up, but way up. Can't wait for the sequel.
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