“Forsaken Land” Forsaken

Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land), the Sri Lankan film that won the prestigious Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has apparently been withdrawn from screening in Sri Lanka (second article down).  The film opened on September 9, but was removed from Sri Lanka’s five main theaters by the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka on September 20th.  The director and producer of the film then requested that the movie be withdrawn from the country’s remaining theaters in protest. 

While the Film Corporation claims that the film was withdrawn due to poor box office performance, the director of the film, Vimukthi Jayasundara, argues that it is a form of “unofficial censorship.”  According to the BBC Sinhala Website, the film was criticized by a senior officer of the Sri Lankan Navy:

Rear Admiral Weerasekera on September 25th in an article in the Sunday ‘Divaina’ has said that film producers should be labelled as terrorists and hanged.

The Sri Lankan media watchdog Free Media Movement additionally claims that Army officials made veiled threats against Sri Lankan filmmakers critical of the ongoing ethnic conflict:

An article published in an English language daily on 14 September 2005 indicated that films by prominent directors such as Asoka Handagama, Prasanna Vithanage, Sudath Mahaadivulwewa and Vimukthi Jayasundara have been labelled “new terrorism” and “foreign funded cinema” in statements attributed to a military spokesperson.

Articles written by military and political leaders criticizing anti-war films as propaganda for separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have started to appear in mainstream newspapers.

In a meeting between two of the filmmakers and high military officials that took place subsequent to the publication of these articles, where they were asked whether they were willing to make films for military propaganda, the filmmakers were told that if war breaks out again they will face repercussions.

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Mr. Fix-It

Well, I’m up at the infamous North Dakota headquarters, and I have to say that from the brief glimpses I’ve managed to catch so far, it seems pretty swank. At the moment they’ve got me locked up in a crawlspace next to the Champagne Room with only a laptop to keep me company; it was a bit cramped at first, but now that I’ve cleared out the last of the empty kasippu bottles and deflated the dolls, things are starting to feel a bit more homey around here.

Being selected as the next Sepia Mutiny guestblogger is quite an honor for me; all day I’ve been trawling the internet in search of a fitting subject for my first post. I considered topics ranging from the upcoming Sri Lankan presidential election to an update on the guy who played Jawarharlal in the hit sitcom Head of the Class. Ultimately, I decided that it would be best to brush up on my acronyms before wading into the murky alphabet soup of Sri Lankan politics, and to hold off on the Jory Husain/Joher Coleman update pending further research.  Just as I began to despair of ever finding a suitable millionaire topic for my marriage post, the Mutineers presented me with that gift most treasured by desi bloggers the world over:  A Suketu Mehta article to blog about!

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