Sri Lanka’s culture and lifestyle to come alive at film festival in Pune

Sri Lanka’s culture and lifestyle will come alive on screen during a four-day Sri Lankan film festival in Pune which will begin on August 10 at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).

The festival, which is open to all, is organised by the Pune International Centre (PIC) and curated by Ashley Ratnavibhushana, writer-editor-film critic and director of the Asian Film Centre in Sri Lanka and Latika Padgaonkar. It is the 11th in their series and a tribute to Sri Lanka.

It will be inaugurated by eminent Sri Lankan director, actor, producer and playwright, Dharmasiri Bandaranayake. His film Hansa Vilak will be screened on the day of the opening.

“These are cinemas of which we unfortunately know too little. In the past, PIC had turned the spotlight on Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Nepal and Iran. This time, films from Sri Lanka will give an insight into life on this island nation, into its realities of pleasure and pain, of journeys within and without,” said Latika Padgaonkar.

The films are a mixed bag in terms of theme. There are stories of hidden and overt passions (Hansa Vilak and Let Her Cry) and their consequences; of long-lasting and sometimes unforeseen effects of the 25 year-long civil war which have been embedded in hearts and minds of people for years (With You, Without You, The Forsaken Land); of superstitions and unrequited love (Vaishnavee); of the past which returns unexpectedly to haunt characters and disrupt lives (Flowers of the Sky); of encounters with the preternatural (Alone in the Valley); of the spiritual and the temporal (Sankara); and of social climbers with high aspirations (The Hunt) among others.

Most of the films have won multiple awards – some national and a few international. Interestingly, one director, Prasanna Vithanage, enjoys working with well-known Indian editor Sreekar Prasad. Prasad has edited two films by Vithanage that will be shown in Pune (With You, Without You and Flowers of the Sky); Dhritiman Chatterjee from Bengal, who had acted in Satyajit Ray’s Pratidwandi, is also the protagonist of Asoka Handagama’s film, Let Her Cry. Vimukthi Jayasundara, who was a jury member at this year’s Pune International Film Festival, was the winner of the Golden Camera at Cannes in 2005 for his film The Forsaken Land – again, a film that is part of the festival.

“The civil war did hamper the film industry, yet, Sri Lanka has posted cinematic successes, winning plaudits at home and abroad,” added Padgaonkar.

Source –
Pic – Screen grab from the film Let Her Cry