Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Manifestations of Shiva was created to celebrate the exhibition on depictions of the Hindu god Shiva in painting and sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the film carries the same title as the book by Stella Kramrisch on that exhibition. Rather than focus on the static images in the museum, the film takes up the performance aspects of Shiva-worship: dance and music. That is particularly appropriate because Shiva is venerated as the "Lord of the Dance" (Shiva Nataraja) whose 108 sacred dances are used as the source for the art of dancing in India. Director, writer, and cinematographer Malcolm Leigh has allowed the music, the performances, and the scenery to speak for themselves, but does provide some explanatory narration at the beginning of the 50-minute documentary. The result is a cinematic sense of the cyclical nature of existence, as nature and life seems to come around full circle, over and over again.
art, art-collection, dance [art], exhibit, gods, Hinduism, India (subcontinent), museum, performance-art