Kala Korner By Dee Cee
Pathi looks at a day in the future
Whenever Dharmasena Pathiraja produces a film, we get quite excited. He
always tries to tackle contemporary social issues and he rarely disappoints
the film-going public. It's no different this time. In his latest effort,
'Mathu Yam Davasa' (Some Day in the Future), he projects today's much talked
of issues. Underworld operations, political violence and torture form the
theme. The events occur in the backdrop of the late eighties.
Pathi, as we all call him, has obviously done a lot of research. It
could not have been easy, yet he has done a fine job. Had he not done an
extensive study on how gangs operate, how politicians manoeuvre to kill,
how killers react, along with the fears of the average man, he would not
have been able to get the best out of the two young men who play the key
roles. Saumya Liyanage and Wasantha Waragoda are two upcoming actors who
have proved their talent on stage during the past few years. (Saumya gave
a fine portrayal of the 'lost soldier' in 'Me Mage Sandai').
Just as in some of the plays they have acted, in 'Mathu Yam Davasa',
Saumya is more sedate and careful, while Wasantha is aggressive, daring
and impatient. It's the two of them from beginning to end and inspite of
their killer instincts, they are able to win the sympathy of the audience
due to their sheer acting ability. Pathi has depended entirely on the two
young men to deliver - and they do. Of course, it also reflects Pathi's
ability to direct his actors. Even the supporting characters do their bit
How refreshing it was to sit through an absorbing film amidst the heap
of cheap, meaningless Sinhala films that are churned out these days! And
a film without the usual romantic and 'open sex' scenes.
Rebel with a cause
This is an opportune moment to see what two students of cinema had to say
about Pathi. Introducing him as "a rebel with a cause", Wimal Dissanayake
and Ashley Ratnavibhushana in their authoritative work, 'Profiling Sri
Lankan Cinema' say: "He wanted to break out of constrictive formats of
Sri Lankan cinema and strike out in new and more fruitful directions. He
was deeply perturbed by the haze of ossifying orthodoxy, both of filmmaking
and opinion that was settling over the local film culture. He wanted to
create a new cinema that proposed a counter-disclosure to the bourgeois
artistic cinema and the formula-based popular cinema of the time."
They described Pathiraja's effort as "highly significant ushering in
a new era in Sinhalese cinema".
Having assessed the seven full-length narrative films (Pathi also has
a number of innovative teledramas to his credit), they concluded that he
is a filmmaker who is desirous of moving away from the bourgeois idealism,
to pave the way for a socially engaged and critically humanist cinema.
"There is an off-the-cuff, improvisatory quality of the films, and a grainy
visual surface that is wholly in keeping with the imperatives of the themes
he has chosen for his exploration."
Strokes of young expression
By Ruwanthi Herat Gunaratne
A colourful painting of endless butterflies, with a different insect stuck
in the middle, disgustingly large. "You are not who you think you are.
We are all governed by some incredible force and that causes our lives
to rotate, unendingly, like a circus acrobat," says Sudath Amarasekera,
a new "find" of
the George Keyt Foundation.
For Sudath this is art, this is his expression. Born and bred in Mapalage,
Galle, Sudath sees art as life. After obtaining a Fine Arts Degree from
the University of Kelaniya, he has stationed himself in Kaduwela.
But the world of art is highly competitive and it is extremely difficult
for a 'nobody' to become a 'somebody' overnight. And that's just what the
George Keyt Foundation is attempting to change by giving
a chance to new talent at the annual exhibition and sale entitled 'Nawa
For Sudath and more than 25 others who presented their paintings at
this exhibition held last week this was the beginning of what would otherwise
have been a Herculean task.
Unlike Sudath, Dhammika Akmeemana is not an artistic revolutionary.
Her paintings are not a cry against injustice, they are just her viewpoint.
Each painting is a blow out of colour — deep reds, midnight blues, bottle
greens and sunny yellows, A past student of the Vibhavi Fine Arts Academy,
Dhammika found her greatest strength in the female form.
Dhammika has been part of the 'Nawa Kalakaruwo' exhibition for quite
some time and feels that she has made a name for herself due to this.
In an age where abstracts have become a vital part of art, Paul Miranda
has gone further. His paintings are not bold proclamations nor are they
a celebration. He uses cement as a novel method of painting and thus his
work is a stark contrast from the others.
In the case of Nirmala De Alwis, the exhibition was yet another occasion
for her to present her love for elephants. "I practically grew up in a
zoo, so I guess wildlife really does dominate my work," laughs Nirmala
whose elephants are made of `matulu' ( chips) from the coconut tree trunk.
"Each year we find that the artists themselves mature," says Sita De Silva,
the Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the George Keyt Foundation. "The
exhibition gives them that extra bit of confidence."
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A delightful act of
By Alfreda de Silva
Wycherley International School presented the Walt Disney version of the
immortal Victor Hugo classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Lionel
Wendt on November 23, 24 and 25.
Directed by Indu Dharmasena,it proved to be a showcase for the bringing
together of a cast of almost a hundred students, in a delightful act of
With the growing acknowledgement of the value of school drama as an
important teaching aid, its potential is now being tapped extensively.
Besides the wonder and enjoyment that plays provide for both players and
audience, is the growth of the collective imagination of a theatre group,
its grasp of stage-craft, facial expression, speech, gesture, posture and
the appreciation of music and movement.
All this was evident in the Wycherley Hunchback. It brought to the fore
a good deal of young talent.
Judge Frollo, an irascible and overbearing character gets an unpleasant
surprise when a group of gypsies confront him. He apprehends them. The
mother gypsy, carrying a bundle which he thinks contains stolen goods,
dumps it on the steps of the Notre Dame Cathedral, when he gives chase.
He knocks her unconscious and grabs the bundle - a hideously deformed baby.
Thwarting his efforts to get rid of it, the Archdeacon forbids the act
and orders him to care for the child. The boy Quasimodo, the Hunchback,
is kept in the bell-tower of Notre Dame by Frollo, who ill-treats him.
Surreptitiously watching the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo is crowned King
of Fools by the pretty, vivacious gypsy dancer Esmeralda portrayed by Anoli
Ratnayake. Frollo is enamoured of her, while his gallant Captain Phoebus
falls deeply in love with her. Quasimodo who is devoted to her realizes
that she is far out of his reach, and Phoebus and Quasimodo help her to
Glen Abeywardane, in the title role of Quasimodo, the Hunchback, played
it to perfection, using his sensitive face to display pain and sorrow and
the occasional moment of grace.
In dramatic contrast to him was the handsome Phoebus, presented with
aplomb and gallantry by Aravinda Page. Judge Frollo, was brought to life
by Devinda Aranagala both in speech and gesture, in a neat cameo that portrayed
his cruel, scheming ways. The wide variety of colourful costumes enhanced