A victorious journey on ‘28-Sri’
Prasanna Jayakody wins NETPAC, the Best Asian film at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Netherlands
Author: Susitha R. Fernando
Prasanna Jayakody, one of Sri Lanka’s versatile filmmakers last week won the NETPAC Jury (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) for his cinematic direction of ’28-Sri’ at the 43rd Rotterdam International Film Festival, in the Netherlands. The film was selected as the best Asian film at the prestigious festival which had been running for more than four decades. In selecting the film, the Jury consisting of Paul Agusta, filmmaker, film critic and poet from Indonesia, Defne Gursoy, film critic and writer from Turkey, and Anu Rangachar, program director of the Mumbai Film Festival, India noted that ‘28-Sri’ is “a well-measured and crafted film that emotionally engages the audience through poetic storytelling of a critical subject.” Prasanna’s film had its world premiere during the film festival that ran from January 21 to February 1.
Written and directed by Prasanna, the film stars Mahendra Perera, Rukmal Nirosh, Sarath Kothalawela and Semini Iddamalgodaw in the stellar cast. ‘28-Sri’ won the NETPAC award among other directions from Japan, China, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. Presented in a form of a road movie, ‘28-Sri’ narrates how three men transport the body of a woman (in a vehicle numbered 28-Sri), who was raped and murdered, in an old van. One of the men will find out that the woman is his estranged wife.
The protagonist of 28- Sri, Abasiri, sees his own wife only after 15 years, on a mortuary table after she had been raped and murdered. His struggle to establish a relationship with his wife, even though she is already a dead body, reveals the sexual frustration of a culture which once enjoyed an open engagement with its sexuality but was subsequently modified under a colonial Victorian orthodoxy and its implied code of ethics.
Cinematography by Chandana Jayasinghe, Rangana Singharage editor, Nishantha Padmakumara production designer while musical score is by Deshaka Bamunumulla, ‘28-Sri’ is produced by Rasitha Jinasena for SKY Entertainers (Pvt) Ltd. Prasanna’s two earlier directions ‘S ankara’ (2007) and ‘Karma’ (2011) were screened at the IFFR in the respective years.