Thank You, Ottawa!


The ByTowne is now closed.

It's possible that, after the pandemic has been brought under control,
new management will take over the space and offer big-screen wonderfulness again.

The building is being maintained, with all its facilities and equipment intact,
in preparation for that hoped-for day.
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Must-See Cinema! A ByTowne favourite.

Watching Baraka, a nonverbal symphony of exquisite images, you experience a feeling of intense empowerment. As one spectacular image follows another, nearly every one lucid and sharp and magnificent, you feel as if you can go anywhere and see anything.

Poster for the travelogue documentary BarakaShot in 24 countries on six continents over a stretch of 14 months, this completely wordless, plotless film by director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson fulfills the ‘magic carpet’ promise of the movies to a previously unimagined degree. Floating high in the air, you peer over the edge of a gurgling volcano in Hawaii, then sweep down to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, or Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, or Lake Natron in Tanzania, or the fire plains of Kuwait, their oil fires burning like the eternal flames of the dead. Through Fricke’s custom-built, computerized camera, we are exposed to temples, cathedrals, skyscrapers and mountaintops, all forms of human privation and all manifestations of the sublime.

Baraka is a Sufi word meaning essence or breath or, most commonly, blessing. And that’s what this stunning, unimaginably beautiful film is – a blessing.

– Hal Hinson, The Washington Post

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