From the producers of Leviathan, comes a stunning new journey, an exhilarating documentary that takes place entirely in the sky. High above Nepal’s lush, mountainous landscape, a cable car carries pilgrims, villagers and the occasional American tourist to an ancient Hindu temple. For centuries, devoted followers had to undertake an arduous multi-day trek to reach the shrine of the wish-fulfilling goddess Manakamana. Today, the trip takes just under 10 minutes. Filmed entirely inside these cable cars as they glide over fog-enshrouded peaks and remote villages, Manakamana captures the conversations of its passengers – personal exchanges, anecdotes, shared observations on the landscape below – and emerges with a rich, vibrant view of Nepal, a land of ancient traditions and rituals on the brink of a technologically-powered future. Co-Directors Stephenie Spray and Pacho Velez join us to talk about how this gorgeous film veers between profane and sacred, absurd and solemn, intimated and removed.
“’Manakamana’ is a haunting experience, one that requires patience (and then some) but that offers spiritual, philosophical, and aesthetic rewards beyond the immediate power of words to describe.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe
“By focusing on such a narrow slice of Nepali life, Ms. Spray and Mr. Velez have ceded any totalizing claim on the truth and instead settled for a perfect incompleteness.” – Manohlo Dargis, New York Times
“The directors, Pacho Velez (who did the camera work) and Stephanie Spray (who recorded the sound), condense world history into the confined space of a glassed-in bubble.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“I’ve never seen anything like it.” – Calum Marsh, Village Voice