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PIFF 2010 #4 - Karma

This is a fairly new movie that I can't even find a poster for! It's the first Sinhalese Sri Lanka film I have ever seen and it was definitely an interesting experience.

The scenes of Colombo brought me back to this summer and it felt comforting, but other than that, this movie can not be compared to anything even remotely Bollywood!

Karma is the definition of art house in Asia! Directed by Prassana Jayakody who has won awards for his first movie at the Cairo intl film fest in 2007, this story involves only 3 characters and there is more breathing heard than dialogues throughout the entire film. During the director talk he explained that this is due to the emphasis he wanted to but on the sound, and to feel the characters emotions through what we heard rathar than what we saw.

It was a difficult movie to grasp, mainly due to its extremely slow pace and shifting of time. Jagath Manuwarana plays Piyal, a lonely man who lives in a rattered downstairs apartment who is feeling extreme guilt for the death of his mother. Through his strange relationship with his neighbour (where he hears every little thing that goes on upstairs), he is able to find what he has been missing and work past his guilt. Meanwhile, his neighbour Amanda, is going through her own hardships. At first it seems that she has a miscarriage with a man who barely cares for her, but later on it turns to be breast cancer. Through taking care of Amanda, Piyal learns to move past his guilt and find a love that fills his void.

The director explained that water also is a main theme in this film; he wanted to connect the feeling of being in the womb (the attachment to a mother) which is where we are the most comfortable as what we lack, and are searching for throughout our life. We know something is missing, and we are on a endless quest to find it in someone's love.

I enjoyed hearing the director's ideas as he created this film, but to see it on screen was quite a drag. There are scenes where very little happens for numerous minutes. It's almost like a silent film as well. Perhaps this was needed to create and explain this inner feeling, but patience is required. Emotions are captured adequately but the ending scene is wonderfully done, creating the perfect closure to such a open-ended topic.

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