Using very little dialogue and interweaving three distinct storylines, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s debut feature cuts to the heart of the long Sri Lankan civil war between the Sinhalese majority and the “Tamil Tiger” rebels. It’s a brave film, not calculated to win the enthusiasm of the Sinhalese government which has latterly claimed a definitive victory over the Tamils.
All three storylines are based on fact and set in the countryside. In one, a 23-year-old woman gets pregnant by a soldier stationed nearby; her problems are compounded by a failed abortion, the humiliation of her father and her lover’s departure for another base. In another, a teenaged boy turns against his widowed mother when she has an affair with a younger man. And in the third a 13-year-old Tamil girl struggles to cope with the onset of puberty–and with the threat of being conscripted as a prostitute by the Tigers if her parents fail to hand over money for the terrorist campaign. All three stories end in shocking acts of violence. The film Is scrupulously non-partisan, deeply humane, sexually candid, coolly modernist in style and almost indecently beautiful.
Tony Rayns / 30th Vancouver International Film Festival