Just watched Ron Fricke's 1992 nonnarrative film Baraka (Blessing) and I'm still reeling from the whole idea the movie is built on, as well as from the montage of beautifully photographed scenes of nature, technology, and humanity.
For someone who usually likes his movie with a solid narrative, I got hooked from the first few shots of mountain scenery then cutting to a close-up of a red-faced spider monkey (?) bathing in a pool. Still waiting for a story to unfold, I got caught in the soulful look of the monkey staring not just at the camera but the viewer it seemed.
And before I knew it the movie reeled me into its haunting meditation -- for me -- on humanity and nature. The series of images set to an atmospheric soundtrack were like mantras, transporting me into a level of visual and spiritual understanding.
Okay, that may have sounded overly dramatic. But hey, even Roger Ebert waxes poetic on this film that he considers as one among his "great movies."
What? That you're smack in the crosshairs of the next disaster, perhaps even the apocalypse? What are you going to do?
That's the premise of Alex Proyas's 2009 film, Knowing, that stars Nicholas Cage as the astrophysicist John Koestler. Cage/Koestler becomes intrigued by a piece of paper his son gets from a time capsule buried 50 years ago. He soon decodes the numbers as predicting disasters around the world -- with each set of numbers pointing to the date, number of casualties, and the location of the event. There are three dates left on the piece of paper that are yet to happen. And that sets the pace for the remainder of the movie.
But more than averting the disasters -- an impossible feat, it seems, as Koestler does not have an inkling in what form it will come -- or minimizing the casualties, Koestler also faces a mysterious group of figures, referred to in the movie as The Strangers, who apparently are able to communicate with his son. This adds a sci fi layer to the disaster flick.
It is this sci fi layer that really became the bummer for me. I mean, the disaster formula kind of worked, but then adding this whole idea of The Strangers -- perhaps aliens who are either responsible for the disasters or are there to help the humans -- kind of stretched the credulousness out of the movie.
Even on this Maundy Thursday and April Fool's Day holiday. As we say in Waray: Gin inuwat la kita.
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