Search Museum of the Moving Image


Forest of Bliss


Dir. Robert Gardner. 1986, 90 min, 35mm. Eschewing narration, informational cards, and even subtitles, this legendary forerunner to the Sensory Ethnography Lab soaks up the activities, faces and sounds of what is now Varanasi, India, where the banks of the Ganges River host a steady influx of ceremonial cremations. It is a work of intimate observation—though it seems to take place over a single day, Mr. Gardner actually filmed over many months—but also of abstraction and metaphor, with wild dogs, ritualized chants, and the river itself serving as symphonic harbingers of the beyond.

Tickets: $12 ($9 for senior citizens and students / free for members at the Film Lover level and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)

All tickets include same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.