The makers of last year’s Festival hit Leviathan served as producers on this astounding sensorial stunner that takes us on a state-of-the-art cable car up and down one of the vast, awe-inspiring Trisuli valleys in Nepal, where the world-famous Manakamana Temple attracts pilgrims and tourists from around the world.

Wavelengths

MANAKAMANA

Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez

Last year's enthralling Festival hit Leviathan shone a well-deserved spotlight on the work of Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Laboratory, which continues to expand the definitions of ethnographic, documentary and avant-garde cinema with the sensorial stunner MANAKAMANA, co-directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez. Like Leviathan, MANAKAMANA is a ride (literally!), but a decidedly smoother and calmer one. Impressively shot on Super 16mm, the film takes us via a state-of-theart cable car up and down one of the vast valleys of Trisuli in the Gorkha district of Nepal, where the famous Manakamana Temple attracts pilgrims and tourists from the world over.

In a series of fixed-camera shots, MANAKAMANA offers eleven intimate portraits of assorted cable-car commuters — whose charmingly awkward and poignant encounters further enliven the breathtaking airborne journey. Though the film's concept is appealingly simple, the effect is evocatively rich — both in the awesome grandeur of nature as seen through the car windows, and in the contradictions of contemporary Nepalese life propelled by modernization. A palpable sense of melancholia emerges as ancient traditions and cultural memory teeter on the verge of vanishing.

With its gliding, to-and-fro rhythms, exquisite sound design, and the close proximity of a shared ride, the film creates both a powerful, present-tense intimacy and a strange sense of the mythic. MANAKAMANA boldly extends the ambitions of transcendental cinema by focusing on the melding of the sacred and the profane in everyday life. From the fixity of one's seat and an impressively elevated vantage point, even the vertigo-stricken can sit back and enjoy one of the world's most spectacular views.

ANDRÉA PICARD

Screenings

Thu Sep 05

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Industry
9:15am
Fri Sep 06

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Regular
9:45pm
Sun Sep 08

Jackman Hall

Regular
9:00am
Sun Sep 15

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Regular
2:00pm