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296 Ratings


Nepal, United States, 2013


High above the jungle in Nepal, pilgrims go on an ancient journey, travelling by cable car to reach the Manakamana temple. Qualified as a remarkable formal experiment, it is also a flat out marvellous and wildly funny kind of a ride.

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Manakamana Directed by Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez

Awards & Festivals

Locarno International Film Festival

2013 | Winner: Golden Leopard (Concorso Cineasti del presente)

2013 | Special Mention: Best First Feature

Independent Spirit Awards

2014 | Nominee: Truer Than Fiction Award

Though its subject matter doesn’t seem particularly fun on the surface, Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s Manakamana is a sort of structural game, by turns contemplative and, yes, playful. It sets hard and immovable rules in place, then explores what is cinematographically possible within those constraints.
December 11, 2014
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The film’s rigidly confining parameters paradoxically activate a heightened sense of awareness: I became increasingly attuned to small shifts in the passengers’ facial expressions and body movements, in the landscape behind them, in all the things that normally go rolling by unnoticed in all the moments of our lives. Most amusement park rides overwhelm you in sensory overload; this one brings you back to your senses.
September 14, 2014
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Manakamana is such a rich experience in part because of how ingeniously it both activates and resolves a host of apparent contradictions. Shot with a camera that is fixed (tripod-mounted to a custom-built platform) but also in constant motion, it is at once a portrait film and a landscape film, an epic in miniature, a documentary predicated on performance.
July 27, 2014
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