Film Review: The wind beneath us

Young kids, the hope of this nation, caging their day to day life around tough examination culture need more films like this to give them breathing space to glimpse the larger picture of life around them.

by Nilantha Ilangamuwa

I would say that very few experiences inspired me more than the recently premiered Sinhala movie, written and directed by one of the youngest film directors, Nuwan Jayatilake – especially the selection of the cast and shooting locations.

Many great stories got buried in vain due to wrong location and poverty of resources. But this movie has used the resources as best as it could. It has wasted no moment. The movie, after long struggle, will be available to the public in Sri Lanka in coming days.

Sulanga Api Regena Yavi translated in English as “The wind beneath us” premiered in Colombo last Friday after screening at various film festivals in many countries where the film earned, well-deserved the rich audience and secured many awards including the prestigious Remi Award.

The movie is for children and of course, parents can walk their kids to the cinema to enjoy this movie and have a glimpse of micro-level lifestyle, which, I believe, still exists in many parts of the Island nation.

As a person known to the director in person for many years and with common joineries at some stages of our lives, we have commonality in many ways. This urged me to think, that this movie is in some way or other capturing the director’s own childhood.

As a teenager who was born and grew up in rural area of the country; touched the soil in Colombo by aiming to achieve the bigger dream for years; Nuwan’s life itself is an exceptional experience on how to overcome challenges.

The difference I have seen in this movie is that this movie has taken sharp diversion from the usual silver screen of Sinhala cinema. The movie is able to keep the positive thoughts on a rooted crisis of many people in the country, facing, poverty.

Everyone on this earth is a unique case of their own. We are trying to find the meaning of our lives in different ways thorough which we are dreaming to achieve our ultimate goal. Some get lost at the beginning, some continue to fight continually until the end of the journey, some will come to the conclusion that they have achieved what they wanted to achieve and then will start an idle life. But in life most important action is finding way to move and move and move.

At the beginning of life most of the times we need something or someone to rely upon. In this movie, Sudda (the bull) is playing this vital role not only within the family in terms of economic benefits but also within each of the family members’ conscience.

Sudda is the main character at the surface and submerged level of the family. No one in the family would hesitate to take a step forward to protect when this driving force in the family is in trouble. This is a pretty much truthful scene of everyday life.

Capturing the unique green sceneries of hill area, perfect lighting, and the rich background music would keep the spectator’s eyes focused to experience the story. In selecting the cast, the director has demonstrated deep insight to each actor’s skills and commitment.

One of the most senior living actresses in Sri Lanka, Iranganie Serasinghe is placed on the perfect position where the Director has escalated her skills to the peak. Others in the cast also played their roles by bringing out the essence of the script.

Nuwan has knocked on the structure of peasant lifestyle carefully and absorbed the cream of it to visualize one of the stories common but hidden underneath our society.

The scene of the woman who was compelled to hear prognostication on her lost bull, the breadwinner of the family, exposes one of the most common beliefs many Sinhalese Buddhists are still practising. Most of the time, the cunning soothsayer will take vantage out the sorrow of helpless people whenever a woman approached him. The soothsayer’s misconducts are disgusting. The Gods or Demons are left to help the victim.

The virgin forest and other natural resources slowly but surely vanishing from Sri Lanka is woven into the main message of the movie.

Nuwan has not wasted any moment throughout the movie in focusing the core message of the theme he has picked up.

The core message of the movie, I believe, is ethical hope or dream never dies even in peril but enriches the life of the believer from within, in substantive manner by motivating to identify with opportunities to explore the world beyond your boundaries. It is not an exaggeration to claim that this movie is enriching the uniqueness of Sri Lankan cinema, though it is just the beginning of a long journey of this young director.

Young kids, the hope of this nation, caging their day to day life around tough examination culture need more films like this to give them breathing space to glimpse the larger picture of life around them. Then the seeds of true freedom which is inevitable factor for future innovation to achieve sustainable society shall plant itself in every young brain. Then they will derive society towards desired goal.

( The writer is the former editor of Sri Lanka Guardian) 


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