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Film review

Irasma - Call of the child

by E. M. G. Edirisinghe

Moving from stage and television to silver screen Ariyaratne Vithane brings out his latest film Irasma with accolades from international film festivals being tagged to its honour. Based on a children's novel by Anoma Rathnayake, it is a moving story of a child with strained memories of her parents.

Though Irasma is popularly referred to as a children's film, it is in fact a film designed for adults to address them in child care and attention. The children could sit alongwith adults to view the film for mutual understanding and promotion of peace at home. The material events that had gone into form the substance of the film is mostly domestic in character which makes it more a family film than one for the children.

At a time when Sinhala film hardly offers entertainment to the family, once the lifeblood of Sinhala cinema, Irasma is a welcome change to quench the thirst for a family film. It emphasises the importance of coherent peaceful family life for the sustenance of a healthy environment for the growth of a child.

The movie is more educative and enlightening than analytical and expressive. The images, except for a few instances, play a secondary role with the message to parents and adults taking precedence.

Although the violent clash between mother (Duleeka Marapone) and father (Priyankara Rathnayake) led to a seemingly irreconcilable separation, the circumstances leading to justify the outcome was not convincing. This leaves a credibility gap in the logical flow of the narrative in order to take full grip of the ensuing developments. However, her grandmother furnished the child with adequate mental and material comfort within a calm homely atmosphere. The child hardly felt the absence of her parents in her childhood life.

The filmmaker goes on to prove here that extended Sri Lankan family is strong, benevolent and kind enough to provide love and care for a family child even in the continued absence of the parents of the child. In spite of the lack of parental comfort and attention, the child was able to develop her mental academic and intellectual skills in full, so as to do remarkably well in her studies.

In quarrels between the parents, the child is insensitive to the issues involved or who was at fault. Its sympathies go with the victim to its naked eye. Here the mother was hurt from assault by the father. So the child began to hate the father while her sympathies remained with the mother. Child's success at studies brought the mother and father together within a re-established family environment. The expensive presents the daughter received from her father, failed to compensate for the loss of maternal comfort. All what she wanted was the mother and not the material rewards she was bestowed with.

It is a straight story without complications told in the spirit of indispensability of love and care for the child. The children could be in the care of adults too, who together could bring happiness and stability to their life.

Cinematically, Irasma is a simple narration with soft pleasant compositions and tender images that radiate a soothing effect on children viewing the film. The filmmaker deftly underwrites that the child could live without parental care but not without love. On the other hand, the parents cannot live without the comfort of children, a pleasure that they get from nowhere else. Parental love is boundless and selfless, and is immune to any external contamination, too.

Generally, the whole visual environment is calm and congenial, a situation ideal for the growth of the potential and personality of the child. The filmmaker skillfully brings out this aspect of relationship with children in fascinating visuals to produce a balanced pictorial presentation.

The scene of a quarrel between the father and mother at which the child was present, her reaction to the experience in painful and rightful sensitivity, is forceful and persuasive. The drama unfolded by the parents in the presence of the child is so effective that it sets the tone of the movie to follow. The child is incapable of comprehending how could the two 'giants' in her life clash so furiously, specially before her own eyes.

Douglas Ranasinghe and Maureen Charunee in their limited roles as uncle and aunt to comfort the child, perform well to create a generous and pleasant atmosphere. Priyankara Ratnayake excells in his role as the father of a distraught child, who metamorphosed from capriciousness to compassion and tolerance. Editing is not tight enough to give poise and an added neatness to the film.

Subdued performance of the rest of the cast maintain the right tempo of the film which moves in a measured pace enabling the child-viewer to get into the spirit of the film which is read back to the parents through the eyes of the child.


'Julius Caesar' takes Joes to victory

by Supun Perera

It was yet another thrilling evening on 22nd June when the finals of the inter-school drama competition which was concluded at BMICH amongst a large and enthusiastic gathering.

First it was the boys competition; where St. Joseph's College and Royal College had a keen tussle. The presentation of 'Othello' was (of RC) of high quality and it kept the audience cheering from all corners. Special word of appreciation to Thushara Hettihamu for a well done job. Just after the intermission; the turn was for the Josephians. The Joes were guided by their agile hard working old boy Tehan Aloysius and presented 'Julius Caesar'.

The cynosure of all eyes was non other than Rajive Ponweera who gave a scintillating display of 'Brutus'. Besides this their overall production, music settings and in general the wonderful presentation of horse driven chariots and the flair of Roman empire is worthy of special mention.

This is why the panel of judges Messrs Adam Wattam, L. Wickremanayake, Richard Lunt and Mrs. Wendy Holsingher, Dr. (Ms.) Niloufer de Mel had a close look and awarded victory for Josephians.

In fact Rajive Ponweera was adjudged the Best Actor undisputedly; while his colleague Leon Arndtst won the Best Supporting Actors award for his cast as 'Cassius'. At this moment of joy Josephians were beyond emotional and paid a rich 'bouquet' to their mentor behind the scene Vijayanthie Anthick. She not only sweat for her students but spent long hours of practice and encouraged them in every respective endeavour.

Among the girls, Methodist College became champions while Bishop's College became worthy runners-up.

The first runner-up of the boys competition was Royal College and Nalanda Vidyalaya became third.

The outstation contest was won by Trinity and Girls High School respectively.


Review

Thilak Palliyaguruge's exhibition of miniature abstract paintings

As Hilla Rebay commented: "Non objective art need not be understood or judged. It must be felt and it will influence those who have eyes for the loveliness of forms and colours". This description fits well to Thilak Palliyaguruge's 11th solo exhibition of miniature abstract paintings sponsored by Alliance Francaise de Kandy and held recently in its auditorium. It was declared open by Prof. Ashley Halpe, Emeritus Prof. of English in the Peradeniya University.

Thilak Palliyaguruge, a painter passionately devoted to beauty and creativity, had taken much pain and time amidst his busy schedule of work to give his personal touch to each and every unnamed painting put up for this exhibition, which I had the pleasant experience to visit. Thilak is a multifaceted personality marshelling a wide experience in different fields ranging from art to architecture and to understand his creative work one should necessarily have a glimpse of the life and activities of this brilliant painter from the Kandyan hills.

A talented and experienced painter Thilak is also an architectural and landscape designer who holds the English Teachers Certificate in Art, a Diploma in Landscape Designing and a doctorate in Art conferred by the Dharmapala-Olcott Memorial International Research Foundation. His paintings have been held in high esteem in far flung countries such as U.S.A., India, London, France and Germany and art enthusiasts from these countries have also purchased his paintings.

He has won several coveted awards at national and international art exhibitions and many of his paintings have been highly commended. In 2000 he was honoured by the title "Kalabooshana" in recognition of his lifetime service to the field of art.

His recently concluded art exhibition of unnamed miniature paintings in Kandy aroused a rare mood and feelings in the minds of all those interested in art as a powerful medium of thought. His paintings at this exhibition which was well attended showed the deep aesthetic sense and harmony that one could project with the dexterous use of the brush had paint. There was a wide display of paintings in diverse styles, all exuding a vibrancy in the skilful blending of colours. One felt that his paintings took us through a fascinating journey in the realm of art.

This was his 11th solo exhibition of paintings and it drew lovers of art from among both the young and the old generation in Kandy. Personally I felt much relaxed on seeing these unnamed paintings which would have stirred the emotions of many an artistic mind. The art loving public of Kandy owes a deep debt of gratitude to Alliance Francaise de Kandy for so graciously sponsoring this exhibition of paintings.

- Andrew Scott


The Singing Nun at Russian Centre

The singing Nun (1966) will be screened at the Russian Centre in Colombo on 19th July 2003 at 6.00 p.m. The story is of a Belgian Nun who takes a liking to a motherless little boy. She writes a song for him, and a kindhearted priest talks to a record producer to see about getting the song to go somewhere. The song soon becomes an international hit, and the nun ends up on the "Ed Sullivan Show" sentimental and sugary sweet, but a big box office hit.

Starring: Debbie Reynolds, Ricardo Montalban, Greer Garson, Agnes Moorehead, Chard Everett.

For details please contact Chandi on 685429/685440.

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