Friday, April 24, 2009

Baraka

[Originally posted at Nuances]

[also berakhah] in Judaism, a blessing usually recited
during a ceremony, OR
[also barakah] in Arabic, Islam and Arab-influenced
languages such as Swahili, Urdu, 
Persian, Turkish, meaning
spiritual wisdom and blessing transmitted from God;
or in a Sufi context, "breath of life."

Baraka, means 'Blessing' a spiritual power believed to be
possessed by certain 
persons, objects, tombs, in Arabic,
Swahili, Urdu, Persian and Turkish.

A few months ago I became the proud owner of a Baraka (1992) Blu-ray. I first watched it as part of a college assignment focusing, as I recall, on non-verbal films.

It was enthralling, to say the least. And this was a viewing in standard definition on a 21 inch monitor accompanied by a loud, somewhat agitated, group of college students with a healthy dose of ADD – oh not to worry... I count myself along with the ADD crowd.

Five minutes into the film everyone quieted down – most of us were either trying to figure out where the 'no talking' was headed OR it could have been that the almost serene imagery and music started to resonate with their brain waves... or maybe a bit of both.

Cover art – Baraka [Blu-ray]

In the next 91 minutes we, through no conscious will of our own, found ourselves soothed and calmed to the point where some of us experienced something totally alien – a silence that is never seen (heard?!?! unheard?!?! witnessed?!?! experienced!)... experienced in a college much less a tight screening room packed with students!

Beautiful, peaceful, serene images washed over us – even in the moments where the motion lapse technique was used to show 'herds', repetitions and juxtapositions we were not jarred out of our trance like state... not even when we where shown the 'cruelty' that man, and war, unleash upon nature did we flinch – the 'no blood and gore' philosophy helped... every 'point' that the film made... it made peacefully... serenely... beautifully...

And then we were done... and were faced with the horror of writing about a film with no dialogue... YIKES!

Fast forward five years to two months ago – there I was, holding nostalgia at bay... surely this wouldn't stand up to the first experience ... would it?

In a small-ish room with no natural light, I saw nature unfold and unleashed before me in glorious High Definition...

And I kid you not my friends it DID surpass my first viewing.

A scene from the film

Whether it was the new transfer OR the five year gap that erodes the memory of the first viewings (I saw it multiple times in standard definition that semester in college) I cannot tell...

Oh who am I kidding... it's the HD and the larger TV (36 inches now) AAand the lack of a fidgety, ADD-ish college crowd... and the HD... did I say that already?!?! Well it bears repeating...

Baraka looks AMAZING in High Definition - AM. Ay. ZING!

Filmed at 152 locations in 24 countries which includes several natural wonders of the world (sadly no Maldives) this is a MUST for any film fan AND any human with a cranial space.

I can't wait for Ron Fricke and Co. to unveil Samsara, the sequel to Baraka which is planned to be released around 2009/2010.

1 comment:

Hilath said...

Yeah, Aindhy. Baraka was really great. I can only imagine what it will look like on HD. Sadly I don't have a Bluray disc player. I only download or get HD from friends.

HD experience is really great, and I might add I am spoilt now in the sense I can't go back to watching normal AVI files again, aargh!

Just downloaded "Pitch Black" HD and watched it tonight. It's still one of my favorite films. There's something edgy about it that I can't quite put my finger on it. But will shortly write a review of it and also will write how HD has changed my movie viewing experience.

Cheers!