Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land) (2005)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A home-guard serviceman assigned the task of standing watch over a barren no-man's-land begins to experience an existential crisis after years of lonely service find weariness taking hold in the debut feature from writer/director Vimukthi Jayasundara. Anura (Mahendra Perera) is a loyal soldier tainted by the tedium of a service he has forgotten how to define. His only company at the remote outpost is an alcoholic soldier named Piyasiri (Hemasiri Liyanage), whom he sees in passing as they trade shifts. Anura finds that even the prankish behavior of the infrequently passing soldiers isn't enough to offset the numbing stillness of his eternal wait anymore. Even at home, the inertia of the emotionless landscape persists, and between disconnected sexual encounters with his disinterested wife, Lata (Nilupili Jayawardena), detached conversations with his single sister, Soma (Kaushalya Fernando), and the heart-breaking dejection of their young charge, Batti (Pumidika Sapurni Peiris), it appears as if, in this war-torn wasteland, hope is nothing more than forgotten emotion and routine is the only nourishment for a collection of sad, starved souls. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (7)

A stark, lyrical and affecting portrait of war's aftermath as seen from the edges of the old conflict.

August 31, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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.

June 23, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic

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.

June 22, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The 27-year-old filmmaker's command of film language is evident and his evocation of postwar trauma is haunting.

June 20, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 10, 2006
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Demoralized characters stuck in a war-torn no-man's land drift from weariness to despair, trying audience patience somewhere along the way.

Full Review… | February 17, 2006
Top Critic

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.

X. T. C.
X. T. C.

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.

Richard Stracke
Richard Stracke

Discussion Forum

Discuss Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land) on our Movie forum!

News & Features