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DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

Sri Lanka, 1996 (MIFF 1996, Contemporary World Cinema )

Director: Prasanna Vithanage

Prasanna Vithanage represents the emerging wave of new film makers in Sri Lanka who are trying to make sense of changes sweepin across the country.

Anantha Ratfiriua, his second film, is set in th turbulent times of social upheaval in Southern Sri Lanka in the late 80s and early 90s It is story of the victimisation of the woman and net strengths. But the conscience stricken middle-class individual's sense of moral responsibility and justice occupies centre stage in the film as il proceeds to record alienation and mora inadequacy.

Suwisal is a successful senior executive of A company called to serve on the jury of a murder trial of a sex worker charged with the murder of i client At the trial. Suwisal recognises the accuse as Piyum, the young servant woman at his Aunt's place, whom he seduced, made pregnant and later abandoned. Captured in dream-like motifs, the predicament of Suwisal epitomises poignantly, the social concerns of contemporary Sri Lankan society It triggers the journey of the erstwhile radical into his past and it's moral implications for the present and the future. The corruption of the individual and his increasing alienation from the society around brings out the inadequacy of the social and political machinery to address the concerns of the emerging woman and her victimisation. (DP)

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