About 23 years after its release, I recently saw the film Baraka, and was extremely impressed by what it managed to achieve. Because it was shot on 70mm IMAX film, it doesn't look dated even for a moment. Its recent sequel, Samsara is almost equally impressive, but it's Baraka that has caught my interest here.
For me, the piece achieves the setting of an emotional curve with only images and music like none other. It delivers an extremely intense climax by postponing it; a single moment that hit me like a religious experience. Since I'm an atheist, this isn't something I have on a regular basis.
The movie slowly builds with imagery from nature and culture, intensifying near the end by showing charred corpses in a funeral ritual on the river Ganges - serene, but heavy. After this scene, we see a man handling a beam that is about to hit a huge bell. The quality of the images is such that the texture can almost be felt. We want the beam to hit the bell, we want to be satisfied by the atonal strike tone - but the moment is cut. Instead, we see Masai, in Trance.
A particular shot of an eclipse has been shown before in the film; it's a perfect example of internal symbolism. An image with otherwise no meaning can start to carry meaning inside the context of the piece.
The spiritual climax delivers when the director cuts to the iconic eclipse again - together with the sound of the immense bell.
I am convinced that this cinematic language must work well in VR. The Virtual Reality goggles have been called temples before, and indeed - it's the architecture that creates presence. The same principles that places of worship have used all over the world for millennia can make VR into something transcendental.
I would really enjoy creating something like the emotional curve from Baraka, including its fantastic soundtrack, in combination with VR. I'm obviously thinking about fractals, but real footage (if shot properly) could be even more amazing.
Baraka on IMDB: