Bay Area Premier Followed by Q&A with the filmmaker
Prasanna Vithanage’s (With You, Without You, SFISAFF 2013) thought-provoking film is a carefully crafted inditement of institutionalized forms of power, and documents how the elite can all too often put themselves above the law. Two women from rural Sri Lanka seek justice for being sexually abused by a judge while their husbands are in custody. Vithanage’s film chronicles journalist Victor Ivan’s efforts to leverage media support for these courageous women. While succinct in its form, the film cuts exceptionally deep in terms of its analysis of how patriarchy and power work together to infect the courts, the media and the lives of Sri Lanka’s most disenfranchised citizens.
Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s highest honor, the Palme D’Or, Jacques (A Prophet) Audiard’s latest film is an immensely powerful work that celebrates the human spirit, and the transformative power of human connection. The film chronicles the journey of a trio of Sri Lankan immigrants – a former soldier, a young woman and a little girl – who pose as a family, so they can escape into France. They end up settling in a housing project outside Paris – but it turns out that they’ve just left one conflict zone for another. Partly inspired by Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, the film features novelist and former Tamil Tiger child soldier Antonythasan Jesuthasan in the lead role. As The Independent rightly says, Dheepan is “a radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head.”
Filmmaker in Person!
Acclaimed Sri Lankan director Vithanage skillfully transposes Dostoevsky’s The Meek Ones to post-war Sri Lanka, to create this moving meditation on the trauma of war. When lonely pawnbroker Sarathsiri meets the enigmatic Tamil refugee Selvi – he thinks he has finally found a way to escape his past. But a chance visit from an old army friend reveals a terrible secret and forces the two lovers, from opposite sides of the civil war, to confront their histories and demons. With a tight script, wonderfully nuanced plot and haunting cinematography, this is Sri Lankan independent cinema at its best.