Asoka Handagama’s INI AVAN, or “Him, Here, After,” in Paris

Press Release from the SL Embassy of Paris

INDI AVANOn November 28th, 2012, a special screening of Ini Avan (Him, Here After), Asoka Handagama’s latest movie, was organized at Club Lincoln, in Paris, by Heliotrope Films. Premiered at Cannes 2012 as one of the films under the Association of Independent Cinema ACID (l’Association du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion), Ini Avan has been listed in some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world during the past months including Toronto, Edinburg, Tokyo, Hanoi.

Its cast includes Darshan Dharmaraj, Niranjani Shanmugaraja, Subashini Balasubramaniun, Raja Ganeshan, Malcolm Machado and King Rathnam. Cinematography is by Channa Deshapriya, music by Kapila Poogala Arachchi and art direction by Sunil Wijerathne.

Present on this occasion were: H.E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Madam Sanja Jayatilleka, H.E. Michel Lummaux (former Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka), Marc Tessier (former President of France Televisions), General Alain Lamballe, Prof. Eric Meyer, Lakshan Abenayake (recognized actor and filmmaker in France) and Sanjeewa Pushpakumara (filmmaker).

Having watched the movie, Ambassador Jayatilleka observed that: “The fact that Asoka Handagama, a young Sinhalese director and script writer, working with a cast of superb young Tamil actors and excellent musical director, was able to slip into the skin of his characters and into postwar Tamil society, clearly proves that South-North or Sinhala-Tamil reconciliation is indeed possible, precisely because he has been able to rise beyond ethnic identities and affiliations to the level of human empathy; of placing the human factor, the human being with his/her tragic stories and hopes, at the centre.  Ini Avan is not only a fine piece of cinema, which has one’s attention riveted from opening to close while avoiding all movie clichés, but also an example of Humanist Realism in the arts. It is the youth who will propel reconciliation, through the arts and other forms of expression, with or without the Establishment. Anyone who is or claims to be even remotely committed to a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka, simply must see—and support the widest screening of—this movie Ini Avan, especially with Sinhala subtitling.”

Focusing on the role of the female characters in the film, Madam Sanja Jayatilleka described Ini Avan as: “An exceptionally sensitive and moving portrayal of the despair of a community struggling to rebuild lives after a long and brutal war, and the indomitable spirit of those, especially the women, who are determined to overcome and transcend it.”

ASOKA HANDAGAMAAsoka Handagama: Asoka Handagama is one of Sri Lanka’s best known and most controversial filmmakers. This is my Moon (2000) and Flying with one Wing (2002) earned him international recognition through several awards. Ini Avan is his seventh feature film. It will be released in French theaters in February 2013. Ini Avan will also be screened at the annual European Film Festival this December, in Sri Lanka.

Embassy of Sri Lanka, Paris

30th November 2012

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Filed under cultural transmission, ethnicity, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, rehabilitation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society

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