A silent threat constantly looms over the village life

Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s film explores the consequences of the 26-year-long civil war which set the central government’s army against the Tamil Tigers. The film-maker deliberately ignored the grand historical narrative in his depiction of the fights that killed almost 200,000 people from 1997 to 2009. Instead, he looked for intimate traces of the trauma in the daily lives of several people.
Beyond the quiet beauty of the countryside and testimonies expressed with few words, a silent threat constantly looms over the village life. The film narrates its events through three interlaced stories. Avoiding to take sides, the film is an introspective quest, a work of remembrance involving the necessary rebuilding of the self. Each scene illustrates how the director was careful not to have a haughty point of view on history. The frontal approach reveals the imperative nature of the process (holding one’s own in front of reality’s extravagances). At the same time, it suggests a dialectic relationship with the execution scene. The ambivalence of the signs tells us a lot about the ambition and lucidity of this first feature film and the emergence of a new film-maker.

Jerome Baron / 33rd Festival des 3 Continents
November 2011