Price: $195.00

    Code: 2476

    Directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez
    2013, 118 min
    In Nepali with English subtitles
    5.1 surround sound
    Purchase: $195

    Manakamana is an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind documentary experience. Filmed entirely inside the narrow confines of a cable car, high above a jungle in Nepal, that transports villagers to an ancient mountaintop temple, it 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 10 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.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Filmmakers of the Present, Locarno Film Festival
    Official Selection, New York Film Festival
    Official Selection, Toronto Film Festival


    "A 117-minute knockout... With a lush, mountainous valley spread out behind them, men, women, children and feathered and furred animals take a 10-or-so-minute ride that, trip by trip, opens a small window onto a world. " – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

    "A transporting ethnographic film." – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

    "Stunning. The must-see cinematic experience of the year." – Indiewire

    "A motion picture that transports the viewer to a mountaintop Hindu temple, as well as back in time to the medium’s dawn.” – J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books

    "A one-of-a-kind ethnographic documentary…Directors Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez manage to craft a vast and revealing portrait of both their chosen locale and the people who pass through it." – Variety

    "Combining aspects of documentary, ethnographic and structuralist film, Spray and Velez’s work is utterly transfixing. It’s as deeply engaged with its human subjects as it is with the history of cinema." — Filmmaker Magazine

    “Serenely revelatory. The directors condense world history into the confined space of a glassed-in bubble.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

    “Breathtaking. Offers spiritual, philosophical, and aesthetic rewards beyond the immediate power of words to describe. It’s also further proof that Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab is at the forefront not just of documentary filmmaking but of redefining and altering the ways we see and process information. ” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

    "Highly Recommended. Manakamana successfully expands the boundaries of film." - Educational Media Reviews Online