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Summary

Produced by the directors of SWEETGRASS and LEVIATHAN, MANAKAMANA is an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind documentary experience. Filmed entirely inside the narrow confines of a cable car that transports villagers to an ancient mountaintop temple, high above a jungle in Nepal, the documentary is an acute ethnographic investigation into culture, religion, technology and modernity. Built in the 17th century, the temple, "Mana" means heart; "Kamana" means wish, sits 4,271 feet above sea level in the Gorkha district of Nepal. It is the sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati, who is believed to have the power to grant wishes. For centuries, devoted pilgrims hoping to reach the fabled temple needed to undertake an arduous multi-day journey. Today, because of a new cable car system, the entire trip takes just under ten minutes. Selected one of the "Best Films of the Year" by the New York Times , MANAKAMANA opens a rich and vibrant window onto this world over the course of eleven such rides. Each is composed of a fixed shot, lasting between nine and ten minutes, corresponding to a one-way trip and to the length of a Super 16mm reel (on which the documentary is filmed). With every sequence, we are introduced to new passengers: an elderly man and his grandson, a trio of teenage rockers, a married couple, a mother and daughter, three wives. Through their shared conversations, anecdotes, observations about the surrounding landscape, and even their silence, a detailed picture of their lives emerges; a story about history, tradition and change.

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