Watching “Baraka” was both a worthwhile and painful experience. When I say painful, I don’t mean it was physically painful for me to sit there but I mean that it was hard for me to process a lot of what was going on in the film because of what it meant to me. The scenes were so powerfull that they could take me back to 2 years ago when I was struggling with depression. It made me feel nostalgic about something that was so unhealthy.
However, the cinematography and art of the film made it all worth it, it showed me so many different sides of humanity; it showed us the art of being human and the art of our earth. It was funny to me that this non-narrative film was released in 1992, it was funny that a film from 22 years ago still connected with its audience of today, it still connected with the me and I’m just 16. Maybe change can happen physically to our world but our emotions will always coincide.Order now
The first scene that really hit me was the scene of the screaming face, at 51:02 from Chapter 13, Chickens. When I first saw the screaming face, I instantly thought of art. You’re probably thinking why I thought of art right? Well, it’s because during my school years especially throughout year. 10 and 11, majority of my artwork consisted of screaming faces. It signified the pain and the struggles that come with life, it signified the struggles I went through with depression and anxiety, it explained so much I can’t explain with words.
At the time art was my emotional outlet and that scene registered with me so well. Seeing that screaming face in motion gave me goose bumps because even without the explanation through words, the pain was so clear. But that face didn’t just mean pain, it meant more and so I started think about how maybe it signified how everything was moving at such a fast pace, how industrialisation was and is taking over our lives and maybe it’s time to slow it down. To keep it short, it explained the meaning of “enough is enough”.
Looking at the scene of the screaming face took me back to the chapter at 38:26, Subway Riders/Monk With Bell, this chapter had two contrasting figures one of which were the subway riders who seemed so fast paced, so rushed all the time whilst at the same time we had the Monk with the bell who was so serene, so in tune with his own mind and soul that things happening around him had no effect. But maybe at the same time these two things were not so far off from each other but led to the same feeling of loneliness.
The facial expressions of the subway riders seemed so grim and the actions of the monk felt so slow and so untouched with what was going on. No doubt, there was a connection between the two, whether it was a contrast of acts or a uniform emotion. The last two chapters that held a place in my heart were the chapters of Calcutta Foragers/Homeless (51:36) and Street Travelers/Buto Dance (1:02:07) but first lets talk about Calcutta Foragers/Homeless, this scene wasn’t about capitalism, it wasn’t about communism nor was it an ideology.
This was the lack of any ideology; it was (excuse my language) what happens when people stop giving a shit. I know these are two different things but it boils down to the same problem. The only time depression gets bad is when you stop caring and the same goes for the Calcutta foragers and the homeless, they’re at the place they’re at because the country stopped caring. Not caring is the key to destruction. Now, lets move on to the chapter of Street Travelers/Buto Dance, in this scene we saw prostitutes. These prostitutes looked so dead, so numb. They looked as though there was no point in looking for the positives anymore.
It signified the slow decline in the human race. Overall, we saw that all of this was happening after the development of countries and maybe this signifies that, the more we have doesn’t mean happiness nor does the less we have signify sadness. Before the scenes of decline we saw the scenes where there were tribes chanting with so much energy who seemed so full of life but they didn’t have much compared to what we have today. This film shows us the irony of industrialisation, the material beauty of the world we live in but with that we’re seeing people with faces of a loss in true happiness.
Our world is so cruel yet so beautiful at the same time and such a sorrow is called life. The true power of this film was the fact that we all saw it differently, it was so confusing because there were so many ways in which we could interpret it and that was the true beauty of it, that was what made it worthwhile. The film portrayed different messages for everyone and for me that was depression, pain and the struggle of going through my teenage years, the changes in emotions and the changes happening everyday.