The Nepalese Manakamana temple stands out against the Himalayas like a huge magnolia tree. This has been a place of pilgrimage for Hindus since the 17th century. They come here to beg for happiness from Bhagwati, the goddess of beauty. The really devout pray for five or ten hours at a stretch.
Until 15 years ago, they would have also just completed a three-hour hike, uphill. But these days, pilgrims can take a cable car and get there in ten minutes. Ten minutes also happens to be the duration of a roll of 16mm film. Documentary makers Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez do not make any cuts, and with Manakamana have made a film with less than twenty shots.
In these unusually long takes, the Nepalese jungle slides beneath the cable car like a surreal carpet. The pilgrims - often villagers who have never been in an aircraft - travel through the air to their communion with higher powers. The film zooms in on their emotions and astonishment.

Filmmaker
Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez
Country
USA, Nepal
Year
2013
Medium
DCP
Length
118’
Language
Nepali, English
Producer
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
Production Company
Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab
Sales
Stephanie Spray
Cinematography
Pacho Velez
Editor
Pacho Velez, Stephanie Spray
Sound Design
Stephanie Spray
Website
http://manakamanafilm.com