Powerful exploration of societal norms | Daily News

Powerful exploration of societal norms

Perhaps some of the most impactful rape scenes that come to mind are those in 'The Servant', a film by Joseph Loosey, which was analyzed frame by frame. Similarly, the Hungarian Film 'Goat Horn' depicted the gravity of gang rape in a powerful way. Indian novelist Kushvanth Singh also effectively portrayed a 'willing rape' of a low-caste house cleaning woman in his famous novel 'Many Loves...' in a thought-provoking way."

Ashoka Handagama's Al Borada is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the brutal seduction of a low-caste lavatory cleaning woman in colonial Ceylon. The film skillfully captures the savage sexual behaviour of the time, while also highlighting the primitive portrayal of brown complexed people in colonial Ceylon. The character of Pablo Neruda, a high-society poet and administrator, is shown seducing his victim in an unbalanced and contradictory way. Handagama uses close-ups of the two characters to effectively convey his interpretation of the situation."

Cursed emotion

Handagama in his film career is exploring more or less the sexual behaviour of men and women. Like the Jataka stories sexuality in a way is a hidden factor which at times exposed in time and space! In 'The Touchá film by Bergman, like in the Jataka stories, a simple touch may arouse sexual feelings. In Dhammapada, the Buddhist handbook, one of the verses mentions it is like a flame! So some weak characters become victims of this flame. Sex may become a curse... only if your mind is out of control.

Pablo Neruda, a high-society poet and administrator, is depicted as a philanderer whose desires are not fulfilled, leading him to go beyond societal norms. This creates an imbalance in his character and highlights the contradictions in his sexual behaviour. The film, directed by Ashoka Handagama, portrays the sex life of a commoner in a raw and realistic way. The use of Sinhala dialogue adds to the atmosphere of the film, evoking the idea of a "savage" sex life. The film also brings to mind the concept of the "human zoo" as seen in Desmond Morris' work.

Cultural heritage

The film 'Al Borada' provides a nuanced portrayal of the societal dynamics of colonial Ceylon, particularly in the depiction of the lower-caste, brown-complexioned characters. The film highlights the way these individuals were often perceived as primitive and lesser by the colonizers and the upper-caste members of society. However, the film also acknowledges that this portrayal is not the complete picture and delves into the complexities and nuances of these characters' lives and experiences. The film does not limit its depiction of Ceylon to this specific region, providing a broader understanding of the societal dynamics during the colonial period

'Al Borada' is a professionally made film that showcases the skill and expertise of the production team, led by veteran H.D. Premasiri of the Sarasavi Film Production Company. The attention to detail and high production values bring to mind the golden age of Ceylon's theatres and cinemas. The release of this film serves as a reminder of the rich history and cultural heritage of the country. It is worth mentioning that the production company, its head and the team behind the film should be commended for their efforts in bringing this film to life

Al Borada' is a Sri Lankan film that can be enjoyed by audiences regardless of language barriers. The film offers a unique perspective on the country's culture and history, and its themes are universal, making it accessible to a wide range of viewers.

In conclusion, Ashoka Handagama's Al Borada is a thought-provoking and professionally made film that delves into the complexities of human sexuality and the imbalance of power in colonial Ceylon. The film skillfully uses close-ups of the two main characters to establish the director's interpretation of seduction and manipulation. The portrayal of the then Ceylon during colonial times is nuanced and presents a more complete picture of the society rather than a stereotypical one. The film's themes are universal and can be appreciated by audiences regardless of language barriers.



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