TV Times

'Sathkampa' tells of a woman's tragedy
By Susitha R. Fernando

Somi Ratnayake and Sabeetha Perera in a scene from 'Sathkampa'

'Sathkampa' deals with the life of a woman who suffers on account of political violence and is now being shown at the Regal in Colombo and other cinemas.

The film directed by Chandraratne Mapitigama has been produced by Rohan Gunaratne. Doing the main roles are Sabeetha Perera, Somi Ratnayake, Manike Attanayake, Clitus Mendis and W. Jayasiri.

The film opens with the scene of a farmer couple Darmadasa and Yasawathi. The husband is a quiet and introspective poor farmer in a dry zone village who lives by selling straw collected from neighbouring farms. His wife Yasawathie is often irritated by his lethargic attitude and nags him for not providing adequately for her and for the children.

While out collecting straw Dharmadasa one day comes across a young woman in white who emerges from the shrub land. She is bruised and dishevelled and her clothes are torn and muddied. She cannot speak. In desperation he drags her onto his cart and takes home where he hides her in the cattle shed. He keeps her presence a secret from his family and tends to her needs.

Soon Dharmadasa's children encounter the stranger in the cattleshed and Yasawathie who assumes that she was Dharmadasa's mistress confronts her husband with the discovery. The entire village comes to know about Dharmadasa's new wife. But Dharmadasa remains calm and tells that the speechless woman must stay in his home.

Yasawathie soon finds that the woman is pregnant and her finding confirms her belief that the woman was Dharmadasa's mistress. And this shocks Dharmadasa himself and he begins to distance himself from the woman. However Yasawathi's hostility towards the young woman lessened and one day proposes a pilgrimage to a nearby shrine to invoke the blessings of the gods on the pregnancy.

At the shrine seeing a group of men including a politician and his followers the young woman recovers her voice. She screams at the politician and Dharmadasa restrains her with difficulty and takes her back. There she begins to talk and tells her story.

Kumari was the only daughter of a well-to-do family. Her father owned a timber mill and he was a strong supporter of the politician in the area, Benjamin. She had fallen in love with the son of a man who worked under her father and this was strongly opposed by her parents. Saliya is a young teacher involved in politics and works for Benjamin's rival. When Kumari's parent try to arrange a marriage for her she runs away and marries Saliya.

Now Benjamin who was determined to destroy Saliya arranges to kidnap him but his gangsters abduct both Saliya and Kumari. They rape her and then forced her to watch him being killed. It was after this incident that she stumbled into Dharmadasa's path.

With the presence of Kumari at the temple Benjamin becomes aware that there is someone to bear witness to his doing. He arranges to destroy Kumari and sends his men to Dharmadasa's house. The first attempt fails in the face of Dharmadasa's resistance but on the second it brings destruction not only on Kumari but everyone in Dharmadasa's family.

Political violence runs as the main theme in the film. It is a good attempt by the director who had earlier made two films "Surabidena" and "Malata Noyana Bambaru" and number of teledramas. But the film include certain scenes and parts of its dialogue tend to raise the eyebrows of the audience. One such is Dharmadasa's reply to his wife when questioned why he brought a woman who could not speak into the house. His answer is that he brought her because she is dumb and that he was thoroughly fed up of his irritable wife Yasawathie. And also the scene of this dumb woman volunteering herself to bed with Dharmadasa. It was not clear for what reason she does this.

Set in rural dry zone areas the director had captured some beautiful locations which suits his film well.

And on the whole the cast has done justice to their particular roles and specially Sabeetha Perera and Somi Ratnayake's acting are commendable. Manike Attanayake who is more regularly seen in the small screen too has done her part well as a woman with a loose tongue.

Musical score by young Navaratne Gamage goes well with most of the scenes but in a few instances the music overpowers the rest. Others in the cast are Sathischandra Edirisinghe, Grace Ariyawimal and Damitha Saluwadana.

'Aswesuma' in Calcutta
Benette Ratnayake's internationally acclaimed maiden film "Aswesuma" (The Compensation) will represent Sri Lanka at the Calcutta International Film Festival scheduled to be held from November 10 to 17.

Anthony and Sangeetha Weeraratne in a scene from "Aswesuma"

The film won seven awards including one for the best direction at the recently held 'Sarasavi' film festival in addition to several other international awards.'Aswesuma' earlier won Platinum Award for the Best First Feature at the 34th Houston IFF., Special Jury Award (Fipresci) by Federation of International Film Critics at the 4th Mumbai IFF. and Special Jury Award- Don Quijote at 7th Dhaka IFF. In addition the movie was an entry at other world renowned film festivals including Moscow IFF, Montreal IFF and Kerala IFF.

The film revolving around an elderly man who regrets certain events in his past life displays his struggle to relieve the bottled up feelings which had disturbed him throughout his life. Opening with the funeral of the elderly Guneris' wife the film follows the revelation of his past which is filled with a number of tragic events including a triple murder he had committed 52 years ago.

Among the cast are internationally acclaimed Joe Abeywickrema, Jackson Anthony, Sangeetha Weeraratne, Ravindra Randeniya, Mahendra Perera, Douglas Ranasinghe, Hemasiri Liyanage, Indrajith Navinna, Saumya Liyanage and Gamini Hettiarachchi. The director Mr. Ratnayake has been invited to participate in the festival.

'Arachnid' to horrify Colombo
Horrifying suspense thriller 'Arachnid' will be released at air-conditioned Empire theatre from Novemeber 8.

A film directed by Jack Sholder and presented by Fantastic Factory and released here by CEL.

'Arachnid' revolves around a medical expedition to a South Pacific island in search of an unknown deadly virus.

Loren Mercer, ex-Navy pilot, is in the South Pacific looking for her ex-boyfriend, Captain John Lightfoot who disappeared while on a secret mission.

Mercer isn't aware that Lightfoot collided with an alien spacecraft that discharged biological material over the whole island that they are heading for.

Very soon, strange things start happening. As it is, the mortal virus seems to be transmitted by what the natives call a " very large" spider. A member of the mercenary crew guiding the expedition is attacked by strange burrowing ticks and dies. Larger and more lethal insects are encountered, and members of the group are picked off one by one. Finally, they meet the Arachnid, a nightmarish six foot high alien predator that is attempting to breed on the island. As the scientific expedition makes its way to the other side of the island, it becomes obvious that it has turned into a tasty dish for the bloodthirsty giant spiders with a vicious killer instinct.

They scramble to save their own lives.

'Arachnid' stars Alex Reid, Chris Potte, Pepe Sancho and Neus Asensi.

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