Sulanga enu Pinisa (The Foresaken Land)

Neither war nor peace, just the wind blowing
God is absent, but still the sun rises
Over a lonely home between two trees in a forsaken land
A hand emerges from the water, begging for help
A legendary woman searches for love
A soldier kills a stranger, and is burdened by guilt

This is the synopsis of “The Foresaken Land”, winner of the 2005 Camera d’Or, the Cannes Film Festival’s award for first time filmmakers. The film was directed by a young Sri Lankan, Vimukthi Jayasundara, who studied at the Film and Television Institute of India, and then at Le Fresnoy, in France. The film had its West Coast premier at the San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival at noon on November 11, 2006.

A stark landscape devoid of life, isolated human beings who rarely speak; the only link to civilization a bus that appears and disappears over the horizon. Two guards exchanging their shared rifle wordlessly, sex without pleasure, seemingly random acts of violence and retribution. Desolation. Desperation. Despair.

“If The Forsaken Land has something to do with my country’s history, it is especially through its conveyance of the suspended state of being simultaneously without war and without peace – in between the two. I wanted to capture this strange atmosphere… For me, filmmaking is an ideal vehicle for expressing the mental stress people experience as a result of the emptiness and indecisiveness they feel in their lives. With the film, I wanted to examine emotional isolation in a world where war, peace and God have become abstract notions.”

 

Vimukthi Jayasundara, Director

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