Manakamana

Movie

High above a jungle in Nepal, pilgrims make an ancient journey by cable car to worship Manakamana. The film offers the viewer time to luxuriate in this liminal space and impose personal meaning onto the images. As with an actual cable car ride, a flurry of bittersweet excitement is generated as the exit station floats into view; the continuing journey is sanctioned, but the confined repose from life that comes from travelling in a small metal box is sadly over. Every cut equates to a hard jolt, emphasised by the heady flying sensation of the preceding long takes. And there's also the element of surprise (and comedy!) too, as we suddenly get to see which passenger Spray and Velez will choose to sit in on next. Even though it is a bunch of long, single takes, Manakamana is one of the best edited films of 2014, as the combination of personalities feels vital to what the film is expressing about diversity and human motivation. The order in which these people are presented never once feels arbitrary.

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