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BARAKA: DVD (reissue 2009)

Shot in 24 countries on six continents, Baraka explores the sights and sounds of the human condition. With a 70mm camera, the images capture are the wonders of a world without words, viewed through man and nature's own prisms of symmetry, savagery, harmony and chaos.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Critics and audiences have struggled to find the right words to describe the effect Baraka has on them for 16 years; but it seems appropriate to be speechless after seeing this wordless masterpiece of cinema, which manages to humble us and ennoble us all at once as witnesses to the glorious power of nature, the richness of the human experience and the recognition of our flawed but surviving instincts.

From the first soul searing image of a majestic mountain range, we are in thrall at the world we live in yet hardly know. How can we know so many of its characteristics? But it's not a series of stills, this is a moving image, and in more senses than one. Floating on Michael Stearns' multi-textured score, our senses are guided through a myriad destinations, gently assaulted by a spiritual mood that is uplifting, stirring and compelling.

This is not the first time the film is released on DVD - but it's the best. Painstakingly restored and digitised, the images, even on standard DVD players - are almost 3D in quality. On Blu-ray (I am told) the visual splendour is astonishing, with the transfer in 8k UltraDigital HD. The official release says: "For the first time in history, a 65mm feature film camera negative would be mastered at 8192 pixels of resolution, creating a digital file in excess of an astounding 30 terabytes in size. This frame-by-frame scanning process - designed specifically for Baraka by FotoKem Laboratory - has produced a detailed HD image unlike any ever seen."

From the opening 'Nepal morning' through the extraordinary Balinese 'monkey' chant featuring hundreds of men chanting and waving in unison, volcanoes, staggering views of giant waterfalls and the sequence about various forms of body adornment, Baraka provides an accumulation of images that transport us and inspire us, shock and awe us, move us and delight us. There are plenty of images of people, too, from ancient rituals to modern rituals, from the outback to the inner city and to slums. . . The layers build upon each other and create a unique sensory experience.

Published April 9, 2009

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BARAKA: DVD (reissue 2009) (PG)
(US, 1992)

CAST: Documentary

PRODUCER: Mark Magidson

DIRECTOR: Ron Fricke


EDITOR: Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson, David Aubrey

MUSIC: Michael Stearns

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9 (Blu-ray: 1080p HD widescreen transfer)

SPECIAL FEATURES: The First Of Its Kind: 8k Scan from the fully restored 70mm film;[BREAK]Baraka: A Closer Look; Baraka: Restoration


DVD RELEASE: April 8, 2009

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