Pan Nalin: Faith Connections

The Magnificent 7 directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic write about the film: A grand cinematic spectacle! A documentary that takes us into the world of religious cults of India – the place where the rivers Ganges and Yamuna join with the invisible river Saraswati. Here every twelve years the world’s largest faith gathering – Kumbh Mela, takes place.

Tens of millions of people from all part of India come together over fifty-five days to bathe in the holy river and wash off their sins, thus ending the karmic wheel of reincarnation. Director Pan Nalin captures this massive human anthill in fascinating scenes conveying the eruption of colors and events, representing the vast space and the heaving human mass. Building on the frenetic activity, the filmmaker’s precise direction delineates the various groups of different sects, and among them the Sadhu – holy men. In contrast to their deep inner peace are the swarming thousands of ordinary people, confused and anxious, whom the power of faith has brought to this place where the earthly and heavenly meet.

During Kumbh Mela several thousand people get lost, and the filmmaker chooses to frame the film around lost children, three boys thrown into the crowd of people and abandoned to the twists of fate. Led by the notion that “faith is not faith until it is all that you have left to hold on to” Pan Nalin develops a majestic composition in search for the deep and powerful connections being woven around the boys and all they come in contact with.

“Faith Connections” are another triumph of the heights of documentary cinema. Pan Nalin, an international star of the cinematic skies, both in fiction and documentary, chooses one of the most important of subjects in India – man facing destiny, and gives it a European documentary treatment, to create an exciting, lavish fresco pulsing with frenetic inner rhythms.

France/India, 2013, 115 mins. 

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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