Whether one reviews local Sinhala cinema or any other language films,
such reviewers and critics should first understand the cinema medium.
They must know the history of local Sinhala cinema first. If their
thinking and attitudes go beyond the narrow confines of Sinhala cinema
only, then they must know something about other cinemas as well. It
would help them to have a universal perspective.
Lankan film critics and reviewers should go beyond the local film
industry (that includes the films produced in Tamil language in the
country) Since we are Asians first, we must be knowledgeable in
understanding and appreciating South Asian and South East Asian films in
particular. Since India is the major film producing country in the world
today, we must without prejudices try to understand films produced in
In India the most number of films is produced in Thamil language.
Next comes Hindi films. Thus we need to know more about these film
cultures in Koadambakkam and Mumbai and Hyderabad and other places.
Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia,
Vietnam are some other countries that have a film culture of their own.
Even Maldives has its own film industry. Then there is the Latin
American cinema, South African cinema, Australian cinema, Canadian
cinema, American cinema and of course the European cinema.
Most of us reviewers and film critics have no access to films from
different countries except spasmodically courtesy the foreign missions
and some institutions like the ICES.
Even though Hollywood has taken over the European cinema world, yet
we must know in detail how film culture developed in various parts of
Europe over the years.
We can study the European Cinema under the following categories:
Capsule history of the social and political processes of the 20th
century and development of cinema, beginnings of Cinema, German
Expressionism, The Russian School, The French School, The Italian Neo-
Realism, Cinema of Eastern Europe
We need to know about Hollywood cinema and the cinema of the Third
world and, of course, the current developments.
If we were to know more about Indian cinema, we should know about the
beginnings and the silent cinema, a landmark survey of Indian films till
the end of last century and the new Indian cinema in the present
There is a huge library of book on understanding cinema available in
English and other languages. We must at least have a cursory glance of
some of these standard books before trying to review a film in terms of
theme and structure.
Film Criticism is serous business. In Lanka we had a handful of
excellent film critics writing in the English language in the past, some
of them filmmakers themselves. However at present we have none writing
in English except for one or two who write in academic fashion
So a columnist like myself tries to introduce some outstanding films
I had seen in International film Festivals held in India for the benefit
of lay readers. Some of us do not seem to know the difference between
pornography and eroticism presented in aesthetic fashion. That is a sad