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Baraka [Blu-ray]
List Price: $34.98

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Product Description

Studio: Mpi Home Video Release Date: 10/28/2008 Run time: 125 minutes Rating: Nr

The word Baraka means "blessing" in several languages; watching this film, the viewer is blessed with a dazzling barrage of images that transcend language. Filmed in 24 countries and set to an ever-changing global soundtrack, the movie draws some surprising connections between various peoples and the spaces they inhabit, whether that space is a lonely mountaintop or a crowded cigarette factory. Some of these attempts at connection are more successful than others: for instance, an early sequence segues between the daily devotions of Tibetan monks, Orthodox Jews, and whirling dervishes, finding more similarity among these rituals than one might expect. And there are other amazing moments, as when sped-up footage of a busy Hong Kong intersection reveals a beautiful symmetry to urban life that could only be appreciated from the perspective of film. The lack of context is occasionally frustrating--not knowing where a section was filmed, or the meaning of the ritual taking place--and some of the transitions are puzzling. However, the DVD includes a short behind-the-scenes featurette in which cinematographer Ron Fricke (Koyaanisqatsi) explains that the effect was intentional: "It's not where you are that's important, it's what's there." And what's here, in Baraka, is a whole world summed up in 104 minutes. --Larisa Lomacky Moore

Customer Reviews:

  • Baraka BluRay - Yes, Please!
    There are already plenty of detailed reviews here about the film itself---I've been a huge fan since seeing the theatrical release, and consider it probably my all-time favorite film ever.
    However, I'd been holding out on buying a BluRay player. That is, until I saw that the BluRay version of Baraka was available; that was enough to get me to buy a player and the disc (making it the third copy I've owned, from VHS, to DVD, to BluRay.)
    The quality of the BluRay version is simply astonishing. How much of that has to do with BluRay's technology, and how much is the 8K scan used to transfer from the original film, I'm not sure. (The documentary of the BluRay transfer & restoration process is fascinating and impressive. I would agree with the comment expressed there, that this represents the finest transfer of film to digital, ever.) It is simply a revelation seeing the BluRay version. Picture and sound are brilliant, details crisp and visible once more, like in the theater. (Even the menu to navigate through the chapters is a wonderful improvement over the DVD version!)
    I will point out here that my first BluRay disc of Baraka seemed to be a bad copy---it locked up in the player at 1:12:10. I could play everything before that point, and from the next chapter to the end of the film, plus the bonus material... but not right at the 1hr-12min mark. I saw no obvious damage on the disc, and returned it for an exchange; the second disc worked just fine.
    I highly recommend this BluRay version to every fan of Baraka, and of course, the film itself is something I think everyone should see at least twice...!
    And if like me, you were seeking a reason to go out and buy a BluRay, your reason is here....more info
  • Baraka
    A mesmerizing experience of life and cultures! A must see for everyone, especially the documentary enthusiast....more info
  • Fantastic
    If you only buy one Blu-ray Disc - let this be the one as the content and picture quality is amazing!...more info
  • Absolutely gorgeous, but crummy packaging (please read for my fix)
    I won't belabor the comments/reviews left by others; this is an absolutely phenomenal film that deserves a place on the shelf of *any* Blu-ray player owner. Truly impressive, buttressed by the best high-def video/audio mastering I've seen yet - it looks and sounds fantastic played via my PS3 to a Panasonic plasma HDTV and decoded in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Buy it.

    Unfortunately, the packaging is hippie-dippy crummy. Yes, it's biodegradable; so much so that it started to degrade during the shipping process! It's just flimsy cardboard that arrived looking a bit tattered even within the factory shrinkwrap - it'll fall apart with use.

    Even worse, storing the disc in the case requires sliding it against the cardboard, which is a big no-no and encourages scratches to form. A very poor, politically-correct packaging decision for a treasured film that needs to be preserved in perfect condition.

    I fixed the packaging today. I'd already purchased a couple dozen new, empty Blu-ray plastic cases to replace broken ones, so I used one of those to repackage this movie.

    Instead of cutting up the original box, I first tried scanning it to make new covers, and that worked great. I used 600dpi, 24-bit color, with slight sharpening enhancement and a 133LPI descreening filter to smooth the image. (This was done with an inexpensive Epson 1670 scanner, by the way.) The result is gorgeous!

    I saved it as a TIFF file to preserve the scan's full quality, then reduced the front cover 4% and cropped off the top blue "Blu-ray" line, unnecessary for a real Blu-ray case. What you should end up with is an image height of 5.875" with proportional cropping, making the width just about exactly right to fix the plastic case. Printed in highest quality setting on my HP 5550 inkjet (another inexpensive device) it worked perfectly - you have to look very closely to see that it's not an offset-printed factory cover and it fits the new case beautifully.

    Similarly for the inside-right image; scanned it using the same specs, then reduced 10% this time to fit the case interior - again, great results.

    So, problem solved, and I hope these guidelines might help others. I've added a couple of hastily-shot photos of my repackaging; they should illustrate the final result - I apologize for lack of time to create more-professional images.

    P.S. Want more? The filmmaker, Ron Fricke, is working on another one! Entitled "Samsara", it's tentatively scheduled for 2009 - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770802/ for what little info is available so far....more info
  • Baraka Blu-ray
    This review is for the Blu-Ray version. Roger Ebbert was right in his review when he said ""Baraka" by itself is sufficient reason to acquire a Blu-ray player.". Most reviews before this date 10-30-08 are most likely for the DVD version. I have a 47 inch LG LCD 1080p tv and a brand new Panasonic DMP-DB35 Blu-ray disk player. It is hard to describe how good this movie looks on my TV. The movie has no dialog and is a series of scenes from around the world set to music. There is no computer animation in this movie but the movie was recorded on 65mm film. The video is the first 8K resolution video ever made of a 65mm film and each frame was digitally restored. the official web site for the movie is http://www.barakathefilm.com. All I can say is that you must see this film on Blu-ray to be able to appreciate how good it really is. Buy this movie now while you are thinking about it!!!...more info
  • Freezes on Sony Blue-ray player
    Really disapointing. This is the third time I bought Baraka movie! first VHS format on 96, than DVD and now Blue-ray format. I was one of the first to receive, I believe, because I have pre-ordered on Amazon. Came with problem, and I have returned, than received another copy. But same problem, in my opinion think this problem was spread out on the very first release, so better to wait a couple more months to get a better release. Don't buy now....more info
  • Completely worth a look
    I was suggested this movie from a list of historical fiction and historical movies. And while I don't really see the connection so much I'm pleased I watched it anyway.

    I have read some of the reviews about the movie and I have to say that I agree with most of them. One person said the movie is really nothing but a screen saver, but it's more than that. And it would make a good screen saver.

    It's a wordless film. So if you're looking for that you will not find it here and that may bore you. I also wished they could have put in some context as to what was going on. For the average viewer they would almost be lost as to where in the world they are in the movie and lost as to some of the religious activities that are going on. But this may have spoiled the movie. Just note that this isn't for those not well versed in geography.

    The amazing points of the movie is that the photography, I guess you would call it cinematography, is amazing. This is what would make it a good screen saver. The outdoor shots are breath taking and it makes you want to travel the world, or, failing that, get outside and look at your own. The camera tricks are really fun too. I would love to see this in HD. It's also somewhat educational for those who are older. There is some nudity and if you're not comfortable with it, even in a cultural context, then you may want to skip over some parts.

    The movie doesn't just stick with the beautiful parts of our world. That would make the movie incomplete. There are some disturbing things. Nothing extremely violent, but some things that will make you think and feel blessed you have so much.

    It's totally worth it if you want something calm and soothing. The music is very nice and I found it worth going to sleep to also....more info
  • Mezmerising
    A beautiful planet inhabited by aliens. At least that is what I felt as I watched the diversity of cultures,peoples and places so far different from my perspective on the world. One reviewer tried to draw some conspiracy theory about the film portraying western culture as bad. Like in Lothlorien in the lord of the rings. The only evil and fear here is that which you bring with you
    There are images and sounds you won't be able to forget
    ...more info
  • Around The World On 1 Disc!
    Breathtaking is one word I use when telling people about this movie. I put this in my Blu Ray player and from the very first menu image I was blown away!

    Being able to see these cultures and they way they live is something you wont forget. Most of us get up in the morning, have coffee, read the paper, etc...well scrap all that and head to the most remote areas on earth, where ritual dances and ceremonial cremations are still performed!

    I was a huge fan of Planet Earth, but this movie with no Narration is top notch! The BD is a real treat with stunning visuals, and incredible sound (watch the special features, the sound guy did some pretty amazing stuff!) If you want to see how things are outside your own backyard you owe it to yourself to purchase this movie.

    Also on a side note, they did away with the cardboard sleeve and gave us an actual blue BD case! ENJOY!...more info
  • barak blu review
    Wow baraka on blu ray is the best picture quality I've seen. This this film was made 17 years ago I wasn't expecting for it to look this good.
    I read up about this documentery and thank goodness I didn't have any freezing problems like others had . I recomend you check this one out.













    ...more info
  • EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS
    I've seen this film before on vhs, and as well on dvd, but nothing compares to the awesome quality on this blu ray disc. its like i've never seen it before all over again. the detail of the imagery and the clarity of the sound blows away any of the previous releases. i caught myself noticing things i've never seen before with this blu ray release, even though i have seen this film about 10 times. it is a must have for any collection, and can be appreciated by all ! ...more info
  • Baraka Blue-ray
    Great purchase. Lack of extra, very no-frills. Best use yet of my blue-ray purchase....more info
  • Baraka: Starring Planet Earth
    The psychologically-challenging 1992 film Baraka is richly filled with complexity, gorgeous scenery, and moments that compel you to contemplate. It is opulent in its scope and so alternately awe-inspiring and beautiful that it wields all the greater force to disturb and assault the emotions at those times it chooses to. Certainly I have never seen anything like it.

    As its dozens of un-narrated scenes segue without preamble one onto the next, one second showing the natural grandeur of planet earth in all its manifold greatness, the subsequent letting its human cast beckon you into a fleeting instant in their collective but separate lives, I couldn't help but feel my brain launch into some very profound thoughts, and that's the strength of this motion picture.

    Along the journey thru Baraka's fast-paced run-time, there are depictions of post-modern city scapes filled with traffic, and villages that have surely stood unchanged through ensuing millennia. A red rock cliff-faced unaltered through eons might precede a shot of a tree falling to earth, its ephemerally suddenly all the more significant in comparison. There are scenes of prayer at the Wailing Wall, and in Mecca, and in Asian temples, and then there are shots of commerce, computer age manufacturing, the industrial processing of animals whose entire existence is spent in development as a source of human food.

    Barack is not only a study in contrasts, it is an exercise in mind-expansion, a near-Sisyphisian effort that coaxes anyone who watches it to reach out and at least seek to grasp the immensity of the planet that surrounds us. It is not unlike the Zen meditation technique wherein instead of shutting out the universe, one is directed to open one's eyes and take in all that is around you, great, small, unseen. That is this film's function.

    Also, as I watched south Asian beggars pick through massive heaps of refuse, I couldn't help but notice the clothes they wore were, well, downright beautiful, which left me with Baraka's most profound gift of wisdom: if starving people can wear nice clothing and look good, there's really no excuse for those of us in the developed world not to look our best, now, is there?

    Yes, this is a profound motion picture, indeed!
    ...more info
  • Montage of the World
    The Good Things
    *Supremely excellent video/sound quality. Definately one of the best Blu-Rays on the market.
    *Includes a couple of extras; a "A Closer Look" documentary and a "Restoration" documentary.
    *The film has very excellent photography. It shows a vast number of unique images with great composition and quality. Most of it is downright stunning.
    *Also provides some fascinating views of society, nature, people, and the world in general. If you stop to consider the imagery, it could make you think a lot.
    *At the same time, it could also be considered calm and relaxing.
    *Provides some views of people, places, and events from many parts of the world that you may never get the chance to see. It also has some very intimate portraits of people.
    *Good music.

    The Bad Things
    *On the selectable items on all menu screens, all of the text is gold and your selection is white, so it's hard to tell which button you are selecting.

    The Questionable Things
    *This is not a movie with any plot, story, or characters; it's simply a montage of world footage. If you don't like documentaries, this may bore you. Otherwise, it will amaze you.
    *Comes in an eco-friendly package, so it's entirely recyclable cardboard with the disc shoved in a slit on the sleeve. It's kind of weird and not very stable.

    This film has some of the best photography ever, both in quality and composition. And on Blu-Ray, it's practically perfect. In addition to giving me something to stare at intensely, it is also something that will inspire me; its views of foreign people, the things they do, their cities, their ruins, their rituals, and the nature that surrounds them are very detailed and revealing. And unless you have ADHD, perhaps it will inspire you too....more info
  • HD BLISS
    If you own a large HD television then this should be the first movie you watch on it. This is what, as another reviewer already noted, Bluray was made for. One of the best (artsy) movies of all time. A master piece. ...more info
  • Amazing
    I have watched this masterpiece 20 or more times on a regular dvd. I was amazed to watch it in Blu-ray. You percieve a greater depth of meaning through the clarity of the video....more info
  • Beautiful Baraka Froze Up 1 Hour and 13 Minutes Into Film?
    This is a spectacular film and it by far looks the best of ANY Blu-ray I have seen out there. The high definition is stunning. I think it looks better than "Planet Earth". I bought this disc from Best Buy in Houston Texas on October 28, 2008. I was watching this on my Sony BDP-S500 and when I first put the disc in my machine and it said it "could not read". I opened the tray and re-seated the disc and it loaded. I was watching the film just fine when at 1 hour 13 minutes and 23 seconds into the film it froze for about 3 seconds and skipped to the next scene with NO AUDIO for about 10 seconds. The film then jumped to the next scene and the audio returned. After that I backed up the disc before I had the problem and it did the same thing again. Not Good. I'm taking it back to Best Buy.

    Does my machine need a firmware update to play this movie correctly.

    Has anybody else had any problems playing this 8K Ultra Digital HD Disc? ...more info
  • wonderful, inspiring, beautiful
    i had originally seen this on dvd back in college, and proceeded to watch it often; every time i had a research paper or an art/graphics project. Very inspiring stuff. A lot of hidden beauty in this movie. great music, cinematography (wonderful colors - complimentary often)...i couldn't recommend this more highly....more info
  • Mind Altering
    This piece sneaks up on you. It mesmerizes from the first few seconds and sweeps you into the world, and I mean the whole world. Your way of viewing our planet and its cultures, the wild randomness beauty of nature, will be altered. You won't even remember to eat your popcorn once you're into it....more info
  • Wonderful!
    The picture really shows of the HDTV. Mines an older one that's only a 1080i/720P and it still looks great. The sound is good too.
    BAinMO
    ...more info
  • Fascinating film
    I had seen this film while in school in standard definition and was very impressed. The transfer to BluRay is definitely an improvement and most definitely worth purchasing. ...more info
  • Watch It Again and Again
    I was floored the first time I saw this film years ago on DVD. Not only should everyone experience this film (stoned), but everyone needs to see the Blu Ray, no matter how many times you watched the DVD (stoned). The step up in picture and sound is immediately noticeable (especially stoned). This film never gets old. Now we just have to wait for Koyaanisqatsi to come out on Blu Ray....more info
  • Simply Beautiful...
    No words to describe this other than beautiful, breath taking & gorgeous. It shows how we as humans are so different yet so alike. And how fragile and small we really are. It should be required viewing for everyone at least once....more info
  • a hodge-podge of striking images without a theme
    Well, no, maybe there was a theme: we stink.

    We are wasteful (hundreds of military aircraft sitting in the Arizona desert), brutal (Cambodia's killing fields, Auschwitz), ephemeral (Egyptian ruins), vain (Amazon and African tribes in the most colorful dress), exploitive (numbing assembly lines, cigarette factories, prostitution), and oblivious to suffering (chicken processing plants, scavenging in trash heaps).

    We're also religious (countless scenes). Was that the director's message? That for all our faith and devotion, we're despicable?

    And that nature is magnificent? Waterfalls, volcanoes, springbok enjoying the first rains, pensive monkeys soaking in hot springs?

    I love the beauty of nature, too, but densely crowded cities also bring us schools and colleges, symphony orchestras, and hospitals. Not too many of those in the Amazon jungle or African plains, huh.

    The photographer's skill and effort is obvious. I wish he'd had a director with a vision of what to photograph.

    Finally, the resemblance to Koyaanisqatsi is not in this film's favor....more info
  • Open your eyes and mind.
    This is one of the most incredible films I have ever seen. I won't bore you with the details but please please watch this sometime in your life with no distractions. The slide show of images and sounds in the film will conjure up every feeling known to man-kind; sadness, frustration, anger, peace, love, happiness, hope, fear, etc. This film left me speechless the first time I saw it with my friends.. we all sat in silence through the entire film and when it was over, we all took away a greater appreciation of "life" and "the world". The flow of the pictures and their transitions will take your breath away.

    This is most definitely a solid 5 star film....more info
  • BARAKA Blu-ray Movie
    This is one of those movie either you love it or hate it.

    I liked it for excellent image quality and pretty decent audio.
    In some scenes, it would be better to have subtitles showing
    where shot was taken.

    I think this movie was shot more than 15 yrs ago?
    Maybe they can do Baraka 2 and improve on few things.

    ...more info
  • The Best Looking Blu-Ray Disc I've Ever Watched
    I never heard of this movie until I read about it on a Blu-Ray discussion board recently (the poster's wife started crying it moved her so much). This movie was done by Ron Fricke who also did "Chronos" and is filmed in 70mm Todd-AO format.

    This is by far and away the best looking High Definition (Blu-Ray or HD-DVD) disc I have looked at--period! The whole time it was on I couldn't help but be "distracted" by how clear and beautiful the images were.

    As far as content, I prefer "Chronos" a bit better, but "Baraka" is quite mesmerizing in its own right. The soundtrack includes one of my favorite bands, Dead Can Dance, which works well with the movie images.

    I highly recommend this for anyone's collection. ...more info