Demons in Paradise : A Film by Jude Rathnam
The trauma of war
Civil wars and the concomitant immigration have created a whole genre of cinema of its own. So we have a French film, Demons In Paradise, directed by Jude Ratnam, a Tamil hailing from Sri Lanka, competing for the Camera DOr this year. The documentary is a slice of memory, going back to 1983, when five-year-old Ratnam, along with his family, had fled on a train to escape massacre in the battle between the Tamils and Sinhalese.
He goes back on that journey to dig out the uncomfortable, painful reminiscences and tries to reconstruct them in as much detail as possible. The film doesnt involve itself in the deeper politics but in its own gentle, measured way looks at the human dimension the hatred, the violence, the fear unleashed by war. Tamils recall how they dressed up like the Sinhalese, wiping every visual trace of their identity to be able to belong within the majority.
On the other hand there are moving reunions with Sinhalese friends and neighbours who provided safety and refuge to the Tamils while their world was being burnt down. From fighting for Tamil Eelam, wanting to be an LTTE guerilla, to wishing for the movement to fail and the madness to cease its a full circle to betrayal, distrust and cynicism for Ratnam that leads up to the question: does violence eventually let down every well-meaning movement? (90 minutes)
– Namrata Joshi, The Hindu, 25th May 2017
Tuesday 08th August2017 at 4.30pm
ICES Auditorium, No. 2 Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8