Children of the Pyre (2008)
Near the shores of the River Ganges in Northeast India is Manikarnika, an open-air crematorium where people bring the bodies of their loved ones to be reduced to ashes. Burning the corpses is dangerous and strenuous work, and shockingly most of it is done by children; born into families on the wrong side of India's caste system, these youngsters keep the fires burning, fetch body parts that go astray, recover funeral shrouds and keep the pyres swept out so more bodies can be moved in. The work is hard and the pay is meager, and the boys who labor at Manikarnika often smoke marijuana on the sly to blot out the misery of what surrounds them. Filmmaker Rajesh S. Jala offers a look into the dangerous and unforgiving world of Manikarnika in the documentary Children of the Pyre, which chronicles the hazardous conditions of the crematorium and how these children struggle to hold onto their innocence under dire circumstances. Children of the Pyre was an official selection at the 2008 Montreal World Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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