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Monday, 25 October 2010






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Going back in history

Restoring the Vijaya-Kuveni kinship Ruwini Jayawardana :

Script and direction: Suganth Samarakoon
Production: Gayan Ranadeera
Cinematographer: Ayeshmantha Hettiarachchi
Assistant director: Udeni Alwis
Art direction: Dinesh Jayashantha
Music: Nadeeka Guruge
Make up: Vasantha Vitachchi
Fight direction: Aantha Mahantharachchi
Stage setting: Tharanga Priyadarshana
Costumes: Priyan Arunasith
Editor: Praveen Jayaratne
Documentation: Ranjith Senaratne
Coordination: Wickramasiri Jayawickrama, Priyantha Kahapalarachchi and Sanjaya Samarakoon
Documentary cinematographer: Gamini Fernando

In the past couple of months the local movie scene took a new twist. Several renowned directors engaged in massive projects which will go down history. These movies are based on chapters from history which explores our roots and project Sri Lanka's rich cultural traditions to the world.

Two children in costumes that are designed for Kuveni
Pictures by Tennyson Edirisinghe

The Kuveni team

Well known playwright and actor Sugath Samarakoon is the latest artiste to take to the task but his is a seven year old plan which finally took off on October 21. His production is based on the historic tale of the meeting between Vijaya and Kuveni. "I have been writing and rewriting the script for many years. It is aimed at presenting the injustice done to Kuveni.

She was branded a traitor because she helped Vijaya capture the island. However it was Vijaya who betrayed her in the end because his friends and advisors requested him to bring an Aryan princess to bear fair skinned children as future heirs to the throne," the director expressed his views about this creation.

Kuveni's name denotes that she is a tan skinned woman. She was from the Yakka tribe. Sri Lankan history comprised four tribes according to their religious practices. They are the Yakka, Naga, Raksha and Deva communities.

"Though we think they lived an uncivilized lifestyle the truth is that their lifestyle is very developed. They made weapons and engaged in industrial work such as repairing ships and making accessories out of precious stones. We can take pride in our own history," Samarakoon noted.

Samarakoon is known for his controversy ridden plays like Uthure Rahula Himi and Commando Diyasena in the 1980s. Beginning his creative journey with the play Amalbiso, which was produced in 1976, he ventured on to play a role in Adhisthanaya in 1982 for which he won OCIC award. His contribution to Viyaru Minisa in 1992 won him a Sarasavi award. He said Kuveni will be made in three stages. The first was launched at the NFC in October while the second stage will be in January. The third chapter will begin in May, 2011. Gayan Ranadeera will produce the movie on behalf of Rupun Film Productions.

Dulani Anuradha

"The truth is buried in history. We have veiled our past due to foreign influence. History is distorted for their benefit. They have projected these people as Barbarians. We think our roots began with the Aryans' arrival to Sri Lanka. This is incorrect. Archeological evidence reveals facts about a developed civilization many years before Vijaya and group set foot in the island," he explained adding that he had worked with historian professor Mendis Rohanadeera in getting his facts right. "I have written it without distorting history yet making it into a fine narrative," Samarakoon stressed

Dulani Anuradha will portray Kuveni's character while Roger Seneviratne will be Vijaya. The cast comprises nearly 100 experienced actors and 600 debutees. Around 120 students from Samarakoon's New Stars Academy will also take part.

Sriyantha Mendis, Buddhadasa Vithanachchi, Cletus Mendis, Anura Dharmasiriwardena, Sandun Vijesiri, Nalin Pradeep Uduwela, Vasanthi Ranwala, Gamini Jayalath, Gamini Hettiarachchi, Senaka Vijesinghe, Minister Mervin Silva, Lal Weerasinghe, Tilak Kumara Ratnayake, Sumith Muddannayake, Indrajith Navinna, Susil Perera, Tyron Michael, Ajantha Mahantarachchi, Wilson Karunaratne, Milinda Perera, Sarath Dikkumbura, Teddy Vidyalankara, U Dayawansa, Gamini Samarakoon and others will be part of the cast.




European Film Festival to storm Colombo

The audience will be able to get a peek into the lifestyles and traditions of the European countries through celluloid. The films reflect the diversities of the countries and their rich culture:

Scenes of movies which will be showcased at European Film Festival 2010

Western film buffs will be in for a treat when the European Film Festival raises curtains in November. The festival which showcases 29 films from nine countries will screen movies for free at the Namel Malini Punch Theatre, Colombo British Council and Goethe Institut from November 5 to 14.

Organized by the European Union, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and UK the specialty about this year's event is that the group will be taking a miniature version of the festival to areas away from Colombo. Some films will be screening at the National Maritime Museum Hall in Galle, E L Senanayake Library Hall in Kandy and Centre for Performing Arts Theatre Complex in Jaffna.

The European Film Festival will be held for the third time in the country and will be inaugurated on November 4 at the National Film Corporation cinema hall with Stephen Poliakoff's Glorious 39.

Romola Garai in Glorious 39

This screening is for invitees only but the movie will be screened again at the same venue on November 14, the closing day of the film festival. Movie enthusiasts who have collected entry passes from the British Council, Goethe Institut and Alliance Francasie de Kotte offices will be able to watch the movie.

Films with adult only ratings
* Happy together
* Soul Kitchen
* Im Winter ein Jhar
* Vier Minuten
*Generazione Mille Euro
* Ma Che Ci Faccio Qui
* Marias Menn
* Mannen som elsket Yngve * Kicks
Films more suitable for adults
* Jean de la Fontaine, le defi
* La tete de maman
* Upperdog
* Der Freund

Speaking at the media conference which was held to relate details of the festival the key figures behind the event said that the audience can get an insight to the movies by viewing the details and trailers on the festival's website. The movies will be screening at 4 pm and 7 pm in Colombo while those outstation will be screening at 1 pm and 3 pm.

EU Economic and Trade Advisor in Sri Lanka Roshan Lyman noted that the locals will get an opportunity to witness the rich culture and artistic values of the foreign nations.

"The movies embody the true spirit of European cinema. They highlight the fact that the countries are united in diversity. These are contemporary films which have been selected and especially brought for the festival," he said.




Challenges goes on web

 Shesadri, Pubudu and Roshan

Udayankantha Warnasuriya's latest movie Challenges is now on the web as www.challengesmovie.com

The movie stars Roshan Ranawana, Pubudu Chathuranga and Sheshadri Priyasad in lead roles backed by Lucky Dias, Sangeetha Weeraratne, Vasanthi Chathurani, Sarath Chandrasiri and others. Challenges is a Sunflower Films production which is edited by Pravin Jayaratne. Manjula Ayagama is the art director. Jayantha Gunawardena is the cinematographer and Donald Jayantha is the assistant director. Challenges will begin unspooling at EAP theatres next year.





Stroll up Wall Street

A scene from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf

In the original Wall Street, Michael Douglas played the master of the financial world, able to buy companies and sell them off without a second thought. The first movie ends with Charlie Sheen's character wearing a wire and essentially turning on the man that made him rich. "Greed is good," Gordon Gekko had famously declared in the original film.

Now, Oliver Stone returns as the director, and Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko. If there was ever a time to revamp he original it is now. In the updated sequel, Gordon Gekko is out of prison and is not sure what to do with himself. He is no longer the powerhouse that he once was. The new blood on Wall Street is represented by Jake Moore, who is played by Shia LaBeouf, who is dating the daughter of Gordon Gekko.

The movie suffers because it is less about Wall Street, and is more about Gekko's attempts to reconnect with his daughter and Moore's attempts to make the reconciliation happen for his own purposes.

LaBeouf does a great job with the part. For the first time in his career he looks like a grown up playing an adult part instead of a child playing an adult role of vice versa. The film never decides what it wants to do with Gordon Gekko's character. He never seems sure about whether he wants to get back into Wall Street or reconnect with his daughter to become a family man, and ultimately the film suffers because of that. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is screening at Liberty cinema.








Master's last film music composition

 Sanath with Master Khemadasa while composing music for Ekamath Eka Rateka

The second death anniversary of maestro Premasiri Khemadasa fell on October 24. The talented music composer had breathed life into many artistic productions on stage and screen. He made his mark by developing a unique style of music.

His compositions which combine Sinhala folk tunes, Hindustani classical music, western styles and many other streams of global music adorned many artistic productions. He debuted as a film music composer with Sirisena Wimalaweera's Roddie Kella while his last film music direction was for Sanath Gunatilake's maiden movie direction Ekamath Eka Rateka. Gunatilake together with Khemadasa had recorded the haunting flute music which captures the heroine of the movie before the shooting sessions.

"The background music gave a special meaning to the characters. Though he was not well, he did his bit with great enthusiasm. His advice and contribution was a great encouragement to me. My only regret is that he was not able to be with us to see the final product," Gunatilake revealed his thoughts to Daily News 'Projector'. Armed with experience and unparalleled knowledge in music he was able to locate the heartbeat of local music styles and adapt them to fit the contemporary context. Movie buffs still sigh over the tunes he had pieces together for exceptional creations like Nidhanaya, Golu Hadawatha, Narilatha, Bambaru Evith and Agnidahaya. His untimely death had left a great vacuum in the country's music scene for there will never be another to match his expertise. May his tunes live on and enthrall us for many more years.


Ira Handa Yata seminar

A scene from Ira Handa Yata

A seminar has been organized by the Suharda Sanhinda Kala Vimansa society to discuss Bennett Ratnayake's award winning cinematic venture Ira Handa Yata. The event will take place at the Mahaweli Centre, Colombo 7, on November 3 at 3 pm.

Prof Carlo Fonseka, Dr Tuder Weerasinghe, Edwin Ariyadasa, Somaweera Senanayake, President's Counsel Viyadasa Rajapaksa, Parakrama Kodithuwakku and Ajith Galappati will speak. Sathischandra Edirisinghe will chair the event. The topic of discussion will be on the most appropriate way to grade a cinematic creation. A book comprising the movie script and reviews will also be launched. Entrance free.



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