William Blake’s oft-quoted observation about finding the world in a grain of sand comes to mind more than once during “Manakamana,” the latest in a string of marvelously original non-fiction features to emerge from Harvard U.’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. Here the grain of sand is a cable car system high in the mountains of Nepal, ferrying passengers to and from the titular temple of a sacred Hindu goddess. And without once leaving the confines of the car itself, 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. A double prize-winner at Locarno, this deceptively simple, one-of-a-kind achievement will continue to keep a busy festival dance card and should attract small but passionate crowds in limited theatrical play. Variety
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