Sri Lankan Cinema

The Forsaken Land, 2005

The opening sequence of Vimukthi Jayasundara’s The Forsaken Land suggests a metaphoric, alien landscape – a land transfigured by the buried scars of a decades-long civil war and the ominous disquiet of a fragile, uncertain peace. A lone militia guard, Anura (Mahendra Perera) patrolling the main road to a remote village, passes his idle hours… read more »

Mansion By the Lake, 2003

An aristocratic widow and her daughter living abroad in Europe for the past five years are summoned home by family in order to resolve the late husband’s outstanding debt that would result in the bank’s seizure of the family estate. Broaching complex and indigenous themes that invariably invite comparisons to Far East Asian realist filmmakers… read more »

Death on a Full Moon Day, 1997

For the impoverished villagers of Prasanna Vithanage’s Death on a Full Moon Day, the civil war is an abstraction, a distant reality removed from the struggles of everyday life. The idea of war as self-reinforcing, interwoven ritual is prefigured in the opening sound of a Buddhist chant (alluding to the solemn observance of the full… read more »

Dark Night of the Soul, 1996

A transplantation of Leo Tolstoy’s turn of the century novel, Resurrection from Tsarist Russia to modern day Sri Lanka, Prasanna Vithanage’s Dark Night of the Soul also finds kinship with Shyam Benegal’s Ankur and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The President in its potent examination of class division, spiritual desolation, and moral anxiety. Alternating between past and… read more »