Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land) (2005)
Critic Reviews for Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land)
A stark, lyrical and affecting portrait of war's aftermath as seen from the edges of the old conflict.
At the final credits, you don't really know much more about these folks than you did at the opening credits. But you've done a good deed for your eyes.
Some films offer up their mysteries openly; others, like this quietly affecting Sri Lankan film, keep their secrets close, revealing them gradually shot by shot, scene by scene.
The 27-year-old filmmaker's command of film language is evident and his evocation of postwar trauma is haunting.
With little dialogue and long takes depicting Sri Lanka's desolate landscape and even more desolate people, The Forsaken Land comes close to being unbearable to watch.
Audience Reviews for Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land)
Very impressive debut film. This might be the most beautifully shot film of recent years. Style is very reminiscent of Antonioni plus Tarkovsky. Narrative events are opaque and character are held at a great distance. It's an interesting portrayal of people living under uncertain circumstances. Aesthetically it's incredible even if there's something missing to call it great.
Is there a Sri Lankan film industry? If it produced much else like "The Forsaken Land", I hope it gets a retrospective as thorough as the recent Romanian one. This is one for fans of Apichatpong and Iranian film. The director wisely keeps dialogue to a minimum and allows the landscapes and the characters' expressions speak for themselves. Aside from stories of constant civil war and a couple of M.I.A. albums, I know very little about Sri Lanka. If this film is in anyway accurate (as I expect it is, given the government outrage), its a land of inexplicable contrasts. Serene forests are haunted by the remnants of war. Men can turn from protectors to vicitimizers at a moment's notice. This is one of the most promising debuts since 2004's "The Return". Although I'll be the first to admit that many of the details slipped through my fingers on first viewing, I'm very interested in making a return trip in the not-so-distant future. Do make time to watch the 30 minute short film included on the New Yorker DVD. It's a documentary on Sri Lanka's walking wounded and despite being in rather sorry condition, is full of haunting imagery.
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