Keswick Film Club - Baraka

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Sunday 3rd November 5:00 PM


Director: Ron Fricke Country: USA
Cert: PG Year: 1992 Length: 97 mins

Programme Notes

Cinema Handout (PDF 102KB)

Audience Reaction

Score: 82.65% Attendance: 112




Screening At Rheged.

For those who watched ‘Samsara’ at Rheged last year I do not need to tell you how beautiful and stirring it was. Our audience feedback score was 87%, one of the highest ratings of the year. How could we follow THAT this season? We decided that the best bet was to go back to Ron Fricke’s earlier film, which has earned a 95% score from nearly 21000 viewers.

Fricke’s technique is to use a ‘non-narrative’ documentary style, allowing his camera to make the point. Gliding meditatively over in slow motion, or speeding over using time-lapse techniques, his pictures show what a thousand words cannot.

‘Baraka’ (a Sufi word meaning ‘breath of life’) has a similar scope to ‘Samsara’ , creating a ‘guided meditation’ on the world by uniting its physical beauties with our abilities to destroy them.

We see active volcanoes, churches and temples, burning oil fields and lakes.

It was for ‘Baraka’ that Fricke had a special camera built which allowed him to use time-lapse photography whilst keeping perfect control of the camera movement, which he used in both this film and ‘Samsara’ with such magnificent results. To quote from ‘Rotten Tomatoes’, ‘In one evening sequence a desert sky turns black, and the stars roll by, as the camera moves slowly forward under the trees. The feeling is like that of viewing the universe through a powerful telescope: that we are indeed on a tiny orb hurtling through a star-filled void’.

It all took 14 months to film with the team travelling to 24 countries in 6 continents. To add the cream to the mix, it was all produced using 70mm film, giving us a visual extravaganza to enjoy.
‘Critics and audiences have struggled to find the right words to describe the effect Baraka has on them; but it seems appropriate to be speechless after seeing this wordless masterpiece of cinema’ - Andrew L Urban, Urban Cinefile. Come and see if you can find words to describe it...



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