Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
The most populous gathering on Earth is the setting for this spectacular documentary from Pan Nalin (Samsara). Known as the Kumbh Mela, it takes place every three years over 55 days and is a defining pilgrimage for around 100 million Hindus. In 2013 they gathered at Allahabad in India’s north, where three sacred rivers meet. Holy men and yogi masters who have renounced the world mingle with families who have travelled the length of India from town and country. Three small boys become our de facto guides into this vast, heaving convergence of castes and regional cultures. One orphaned boy has been adopted, to their mutual delight, by a revered yogi. A runaway pre-teen practises his macho swagger on stallholders and bemused policemen, eventually revealing his true identity to the filmmaker. And, in absentia, a tiny toddler, who has disappeared during a moment of parental inattention, draws us on a frantic search into the four corners of this vast temporary community. Its every scene an amazing eyeful, Faith Connections is a revealing exploration of the social principles that underpin and uphold a shared spiritual quest.