Monday, January 13, 2014


Baraka was a moving, deep, and powerful film. It managed to connect the entire world into one being with nothing but images and songs. There were no words throughout the entire movie, and that was incredibly impactful. It relates to world literature because it managed to speak the language of the world. The world has so many different people in it, so many races and religions and cultures, but Baraka showed that when it comes down to it, we really are all the same. World literature comes from all over the world, from people everywhere trying to make sense of things their own way, how to fit into the greater whole. In general, there are always only three types of stories told a million different ways; boy meets girl, fish out of water, and coming of age. But these three themes are in every story worldwide. Through our stories, the entire world is connected. And Baraka conveyed that with no words. In first semester, we studied satire, the hero's journey, and an allegory. And we managed to combine all of those in our minds, making sense of them and relating them to each other through the One Great Heart speech. This further proves that everything there is in writing is connected somehow. All the stories are all still part of this same world. They are their own little realities, tucked into pockets of the one true reality we live in. Whether conveyed by fantastical images of the real world, so beautiful it seems they cannot exist, or words showing how far our own consciousness and imagination can take us, the same simple truth remains. Everything is connected.

Watching the various religious rituals, especially the cremation and the monkey dance, were moments of awe. Seeing those felt like that was real, more real that problems like good grades and waking up on time. Having a real life like those people, seemingly so uninhibited from their hopes and dreams, is infinitely preferable to always being told your wishes are only that and your goals are out of reach. Knowing that there are people who have that kind of life, and that it is possible to have that kind of life, was wonderful news. Seeing the homeless people on the streets, foraging for food in a dump, hit hard in a less good way. I felt like I have been wasting my life, living in such excess compared to them, and I have done nothing, though there are things I could do, to help them. How could I live with so much when there are others out there with so little? Seeing that basically felt like a battering ram to the heart, plus a rethinking of many morals and problems. However, since there are things that I can do, seeing those images ultimately felt good, and leading to compassionate actions. Some of the most impactful images in the movie were also the saddest, unfortunately. In particular, seeing the concentration camps, the heaps of shoes, the photos of the victims tacked up on the walls were the images that meant the most to me. Anything that has to do with the Holocaust is kind of a big deal for me. I don't frequently broadcast the fact that I am Jewish, but it is a fact, and seeing images like that was very difficult for me. Even the concentration camps that were not German were too similar, and were based off the same model if not a worse design. Even if I didn't have such a personal connection to those images, I would still find them the most memorable and disturbing because seeing how many innocent people died for a single stupid reason matters. Anyone dying, regardless of what they've done, matters, because there is not one person anywhere that is not important. It's like pulling on a single thread and an entire sweater coming unrolled. Every person is essential. 

My idea of a moving and impactful image differs greatly from Brussat's. She thinks that beauty and awe is moving, which I agree with, but I believe it is less moving than seeing real things that are terrible, like the chicks being burned and sorted or the war zones. Beauty is wonderful, if one is lucky enough to encounter it. Horror seems to be unfortunately more common. Knowing that there are awful things out there means that there are that many more people who know about the problem and can work to fix it. Not everyone will try, but those who do will succeed because they want to. Knowing that beauty exists is a fundamental part of solving problems, because it means that there is a solution in sight. However, seeing the problem is more moving that seeing the solution because finding the problem is the first step to solving it, and once you have the solution there's nowhere to go. Lovely is the way the camera moves so slowly between the vine-covered monuments and statues, a wide stationary shot of a mountain to prove its enormity. Truly beautiful camerawork, capturing the essence and feeling of a place. And yet the same can be said with the slowly building tense music as the camera swoops around a volcano, many quick shots in a war zone with guns and abandoned, overgrown tanks. The camera and the music make the scene feel tense and nervous, proving what is wrong. It gives the film greater depth and clarity, helping the viewer through the story and through many different emotions.

I think this film is hoping to teach that, though true beauty is hardly obvious, it is actually all around us. Everything, even the bad things, can become a good thing. Death causes a person to be reclaimed by the earth, and thus completes the cycle. Be it peaceful or not, death, assisted by time, will claim everything. But giving life even in death is still wonderful, still lovely, still beautiful. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. All it takes is a little extra effort of the mind, and the body will follow. What you see is what you believe, and if you can make yourself see beauty, then beauty will become that much more real, and you can use that to bring light to everything that is dark. In seeing beauty everywhere, in everything, people can bring beauty everywhere, helping others see the beauty that is right in front of them and helping, in turn, to make it clearer for others. Baraka is trying to teach that, through our worldly connections, we can make the world a beautiful place. We are all connected, and once one person believes in the beauty, they, assisted by time, will help the rest of the world see.