Director: Prasanna Vithanage
Country: Sri Lanka
Synopsis: When lonely, tortured pawnbroker Sarathsiri meets and marries the beautiful, enigmatic Selvi, he thinks he has finally found a way to put his past behind him. But a chance visit from an old friend opens up wounds that threaten to tear open the barely healing fabric of a mutilated nation coming to grips with the unspeakable cost of a thirty year civil war. Will love help them cross the bridge? Or will the past continue to colour the present? –Official site
Review: The ethnic divide that plunged Sri Lanka into a three decade long internal war has created indelible trauma in the two peoples’ psyche. A man from the majority Sinhala and a girl from the minority Tamil were used by the director to speak of this divide, this wound. In a sense, this is not a love story, but a hate story. A hate story of two peoples, divided in mind and body, in time and space, who struggle to be free of their past.
A beautifully nuanced plot is handled even more brilliantly by a seasoned director. The conflict between the past and present of the lead actors is an inspired metaphor for the Sinhala and Tamil peoples. The music is as haunting as Shyam Fernando’s (Sarathsiri) chocolaty voice. The lush greenish-blue village lends a post-war sleepy tone to the film. The camera seems to be in love with Selvi’s (newcomer Anjali Patil) beauty, as I was. We all talk about beauty, but to see it unfold is always magical. There are many who argue that beauty is subjective. But to glimpse heaven in a pair of eyes surely qualifies you in anyone’s list?
When your ethnicity colours your values and actions, you are left with an urgent need to atone your errors. When you are victimised for being different, you seek revenge at any cost, even at the cost of happiness. You fall in love with the enemy. The lion sleeps with the lamb, but when they wake up, they are still predator and prey. Love, sometimes is just not enough.