Several years ago the Chicago Transit Association adopted a new rail seating design that primarily featured aisle-facing seating. Whereas riders were once privy to seeing the back of a fellow passenger’s head, new seating involves riders looking directly at each other (barring a standing riders’ crotch or buttock obstructing your view). But this new seating arrangement, manifested to maximize space and latently provoking conversation among riders, tends to avert eyes rather than bring them together. Passengers tend to stare at one’s phone or simply stare past the person in front of them to the passing Chicagoland scenery. It’s a rarity that one ever directs their view toward another passenger lest they be accused of staring.
Manakama positions its audience in this voyeuristic role where viewers are free to stare. It’s a film set in a cable car gondola that transports visitors to and from the titular spiritual site. Set in the vibrant green mountains of Nepal, the picture is a studious exercise in ethnographic contemplation and a beguiling display of film editing.Read More