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Pathiraja's vision in writing

[Dharmasena Pathiraja's feature films ]

* Ahas Gawwa (One League of Sky)

* Eya Den Loku Lamayek (Coming of Age)

* Bambaru Avith (The Wasps are here)

* Ponmani

* Para Dige (On the Run)

* Soldadu Unnehe (Old Soldier)

* Mathu Yam Dawasa (Some Day in the Future)

* In Search of a Road

An Incomplete Sentence - The Cinema of Dharmasena Pathiraja, a collection of writings delving on the cinematic creations and vision of Dharmasena Pathiraja,

Dharmasena Pathiraja

was launched at the National Film Corporation Auditorium on March 25.

Edited by Sivamohan Sumathy, Robert Crusz and Ashley Ratnavibhushana and published by Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC), the book contains articles, reviews, interviews and biographical notes on Pathiraja's work. As editors comment, the writings "speak of Pathiraja as an artiste, a commentator and a product of his times." All these differing opinions try to sum him up "within the historical, social and political."

While the editors regard the publication as a celebration of Pathiraja's contribution to cinema, they also endeavor to make it a critical review of his films and the relevant times. Also in the collection is a critical paper on Ritwik Ghatak's films and Pathiraja's own manner of making films presented by Pathiraja at the post-colonial conference held in Kolkata in 2006.

Born in Kandy and the holder of a doctorate on Bengal Cinema from Australia's Monash University, Pathiraja is considered today as belonging to the avant garde and the alternative film scene in Sri Lanka. He has written plays for radio and stage but his venturing into film making was to associate him with roaring success. Pathiraja's first film was Saturo (Enemies), a 10-minute short film that won the Film Critics' and Journalists' Award in 1972.

It fell within the best ten films at the Bilbao Short Film Festival (Spain) in the same year. His first full-length feature film, Ahas Gawwa, won the awards of Best Script, Best Film and Best Director in 1974. Eya Den Loku Lamayek represented Sri Lanka at the 8th Moscow International Film Festival and won the award for the Best Female Performance and the National Presidental Award for Best Film and Best Director in 1976. In 1978, Bambaru Avith won the Presidential Award for Best Film and Best Director.

In 2000, Pathiraja was awarded the 'The Golden Lion', a lifetime award, for his contribution to Sri Lankan Cinema at the Presidential Awards Festival.

It would be fitting to conclude with what Dr. Aruna Vasudev and Philip Cheah say in Preface to the book. "For over 30 years, the world's film specialists did not recognize that someone was dreaming outside of the set limitations of Sri Lankan cinema. His name is Dharmasena Pathiraja. And he is the missing link that explains how the classical art cinema of Lester James Peries evolved into the new wave of the 90s with Prasanna Vithanage and Asoka Handagama leading the change."


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