photography
about
website und
er construction - April 2024


er. 34 // Manikarnika - 2017
The er. [n°] serie consists of daily film experiments made during 90 consecutive days in India in 2017. Each film of this serie was created in 4 hours, including going outside, shooting, recording voice(s), coming back home, editing. Each film of this serie explores cinematography through a specific constraint.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MANIKARNIKA
One district is wisperred to be the holiest, as well as the most secret one. It is the district of Dom Raja, the district were the last holy burning rituals are standing at a pace of two hundred bodies a day, the district of the oldest and more powerful temples.
Manikarnika.



Before yesterday evening, when I was returning from shooting at a late hour, an Indian accosted me. Tired and hungry, I tell him that I prefer to go back before I can not find food.
- "Sit down and listen to me, if you do not listen to people, then you will never know... Listen to me: you are in the city of Shiva. No one, you hear me, no one sleeps without having eaten at least once a day in the city of Shiva".

Yesterday, still filming at a late hour and empty belly, a man came in the middle of the small circle of 5 people we were forming with Babaji, Vinek, Dom Raja and two other people. He gave to each one a small piece of biscuit, including to the goat of Babaji.

Every day, for years, this man goes around the city at nightfall and gives food to each person. A tiny bit of biscuit, smaller than the nail of my little finger.

He had told me: no one sleeps without having eaten at least once a day in the city of Kashi.





The words says that the holy Shiva Fire has never been extinguished for thousands of years. All the pyres of cremations are lit from one of its embers, kept untouched by the members of a specific caste.


Dom Raja, King of Varanasi, one of the two. His family watches over the Shiva Fire from father to son for millennia, making him the protector of the fire of Shiva from which every cremation is litten from. He is the most respected of Varanasi.


Rahul praying during the Shiva Temple's ceremony.


The Brahman's cremation ground.


The Brahman's cremation ground with a Shiva Trishul after the cremation.


This man brought his relative to rest.


Babaji, an old and wise man living in the streets of Manikarnika with his goat.




A man who cuts the logs of cremations.


This scale is used to weigh the 300 kilos of wood required for a cremation.



Rest.

Film constraint: to shoot in Manikarnika, a place where it is forbidden to film unless the locals grant you the access.

Romain WILLERVAL, réalisateur, Marseille, France.

romain.willerval@gmail.com