11 December 2014

Manakamana 1

High above Nepal, cable cars transport visitors to an ancient Hindu temple, the site of a shrine to the wish-fulfilling goddess Manakamana. Directors Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez took up residence in the cable car, filming the array of pilgrims as they travelled up the mountain towards the shrine.

Rather than featuring traditional talking head interviews or tracing the back-story of the travellers, the film silently follows their journey up the mountain in the first half of the film and then back down in the second half. 

After taking two friend’s onto the cable car as part of another project, director Stephanie Spray is quoted as saying ‘This experience made me feel that the surreality of riding in the cable car, high above the jungle, and the mix of emotions the trip inspires, was worthy of a film in itself.’

The resulting film is a mixture of portraiture, landscape photography and a deep exploration of Hindu culture in Nepal.

Manakamana is a rejection of the fast cuts and intense tempo of blockbuster films, which will reward patient and curious viewers. Critics have called the movie ‘An intimate humanist experiment, the film provokes much delight in its playful structure.’ The New York Times writes ‘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.’

The film is screening daily from Friday 12 December. Tickets are available now online, by phone on 0871 902 5737 and from the Box Office.