THE FORSAKEN LAND
Sulanga Enu Pinisa | by VIMUKTHI JAYASUNDARA | Feature film | 2005 | France-Sri Lanka | 108 min | 35mm-DCP | color
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
Screenplay: Vimukthi Jayasundara.
Photography: Channa Deshapriya
Editor: Gisèle Rapp-Meichler
Production design: Rohan Samaradivakara
Sound design: Alberto Crespo-Ocampo, Franck Desmoulins, Nicolas Naegelen
Music: Nadeeka Guruge
Cast: Mahendra Perera (Anura), Kaushalya Fernando (Somá), Nilupili Jayawardena (Latá), Hemasiri Liyanage (Piyasirí), Saumya Liyanage (Palitá), Pumidika Sapurni Peiris (Battí).
Producer: Philippe Avril
Co-producers: Chandana Aluthge, Pascal Diot, Michel Reilhac, Francisco Villa-Lobos
Executive Production company: Unlimited.
Co-Production: Les Films de l’Étranger (France), Onoma International (France), Arte France Cinema.
Associate Co-Production: Film Council Productions (Sri Lanka), Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains (France).
With the participation of Digimage, Les Films Hatari, Le Filmoir, Poly-Son Post-Production.
Development supports: Cinefondation, Festival de Cannes (Residency), Moulin d’Andé | CECI (Cinema Scriptwriting Lab | Odyssey Programme).
Production supports: South Cinema Fund (CNC, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, France), Hubert Bals Fund (The Netherlands), Prince Claus Film Fund (The Netherlands), Alsace Region, Strasbourg urban Community.
World Premiere: Cannes, 58th International Film Festival (“Un Certain Regard” section)
Golden Camera (best directorial debute, all sections), Cannes 2005
Special Jury Award, Osian’s Cinefan 2005, New Delhi
Grand Prize, World Cinema Film Festival, Bangkok, 2005.
ABOUT THE MOVIE
"Some films offer up their mysteries openly; others, like the quietly affecting Sri Lankan film The Forsaken Land, keep their secrets close, revealing them gradually, shot by shot, scene by scene. Directed and written by the young Sri Lankan filmmaker Vimukthi Jayasundara, this fine and moody first feature takes place on a desolate stretch of wind-swept coast far from the big city and much of anything else that might evoke the modern world. Here, amid the swaying palms and an occasional pool of blood, men and women drift through life as if they were ghosts, casualties of a civil war that hangs over them like a curse. (…) Like Antonioni, who once dyed grass in one of his films to underscore “the sense of desolation”, Jayasundara uses color both to create an enveloping mood and to underscore the medium’s plasticity. Given that Sri Lanka’s horrific history could easily overwhelm even the boldest aesthetic voice, this expressionistic gambit seems as smart as it may be necessary. (…) Eros and Thanatos keep company in The Forsaken Land, which is filled with the kind of frantic coupling that alternately suggests a doomsday scenario (you have five minutes left, go!) or a passionate affirmation of life."
(Manohla Dargis, The New York Times)