Sunday, November 09, 2008

"Baraka" (Documentary) (1992) - Movie Review

Ron Fricke a cinematographer involved in a similar experimental non-narrative documentary “Koyaanisqatsi” (which I have not seen) takes the concept of it into his direction and skill of motion image capture in “Baraka”. It is a collage of the pictorial beauty, beast and ordinary happenings from around the globe. Its spiritual connection is obvious and its analogical themes have a sense of humour of its own.

The word “experimental” comes as the out of tradition, non-formulaic new method which has an open ended result of unknown out come. It is a bit of unfairness as cinema as the medium in its trend of formulaic and genre centered production does not know its outcome either. But the experimental is not the idea of the director rather a naming convention for a genre of its own.

Having cleared that fact, I was absorbed for most of the part in “Baraka” and sadly similar to “Microcosmos”, it wore out its inventiveness in a while. But it lasted longer than “Microcosmos” and a lot better than it with poetry of the textured and multicoloured life. Filmed in 152 locations from 24 countries as expected it starts out with the serenity of the brutal nature. The nature gives out its untold poetry in one of its creation through the high standing snow mountains seeming to grow towards the space of absolute absence of air and an invitation into darkness. Then the shift happens into the dawn of a monastery and in the streets of the poor. Again it jumps into the transparency of the nature and the time lapsed images of its movement.

With those alternate travel through the worlds not through the nature but through the people of it is charismatic and a meditation of trance in human emotions. It focuses on the people who look at the camera emotionless and having a blank statement on their face. The tribal untouched children and women, a passenger sleeping off sitting in a train and the yogi in the lands of Varanasi, every one has a stale mask over their face. They are in that moment of forgetting their environment and begin to think of everything apart from their surroundings just as the film makes the viewers into doing that. Slowly in a very conscious manner I began to wander in thoughts of what the images made me to think or associate events and emotions in the life I have and led till now.

Despite this courage of purely transpiring the art of cinematography and back ground score speak its emotions, it does get a bit too attention deficit as time goes on. Through the unexplainable and hair rising artistic imageries in river of clouds and skulls of the innocent victims in a former concentration camps, it as a trance music begins to go blank in time. In its rare attempt on capturing the purity of not the nature but the variation in the humans in different cities, culture, religions, place and high buildings, it goes amiss in its duration. It fails to acknowledge its experimental procedure in the time stamp of its film.

Still I would recommend “Baraka” for many reason and the one will that there is no way we could witness such an overflow of extreme and pristine cinematography in our life time. While the capturing is the artist’s talent, the location and the culture it grasped exists to give such ideas to him or her in recreating those observations into a series of spectacular paintings. Even in the chaotic yet organized schedule of the traffic and the human flowing like ants in the high style of city there is a feel of virginity and pureness.

This reviewer tries really hard at many times while writing his review on coming up with more appropriate words for much original and honest adjective to express his feelings in order to completely justify the emotions, being fair to a film and also have an attempt on the poetry of writing. Most of the times in that process, my thoughts does not precisely translate into sentences and words as properly expected and attempted. Lost for words is a common thing for some one writing regularly but I would feel disheartened and cheated in not coming or able to find the right word for the experience. For “Baraka” which I did not completely enjoy but adored its originality and spectacular cinematography begs a word to represent it completely and honestly. “Essence” would be it. Essence as in the concentration of entire sweetness from the succulent fruits to hold the sense of it in a liquid form to taste it wherein we forget the crushing of the fruit to extract it. “Baraka” is one such experience in its essence of life.

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