SFIFF: Manakamana

I just caught the documentary Manakamana, an American-made film shot and set in a very specific location in Nepal.

The setting: a cable car that takes people to a Hindu temple high in the mountains. Filmmaakers Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez set their camera in one seat and watch the people in the other, as well as the scenery behind them. The camera doesn’t move and each 8-minute ride is shown without cuts. The scenery is beautiful at first, but loses its luster as it’s repeated. The passengers, who clearly were told not to look at or acknowledge the camera and filmmakers, are sometimes boring and sometimes interesting. Despite some bright spots, I soon found myself disapointed when another trip started.

I give this film a C+.

 Manakamanawill screen again on Sunday, April 27 a the New People Cinema, and Monday, May 5 at the Kabuki.