Film from Sri Lanka:
SILENCE IN THE COURTS | Prasanna Vithanage | 57 mins | 2015
Two women from rural Sri Lanka, sexually abused by a Judge nearly two decades ago, try in vain to seek justice. As their plea is turned down and subverted by the country’s highest authorities, noted journalist Victor Ivan begins to write in-depth stories highlighting their plight, the state of the justice system and its lack of commitment to the downtrodden – to no avail. This film traces stories of these hapless women and the journalist twenty years on, and attempts to understand this shocking miscarriage of justice and how the powerful can sometimes be above the law.
Born in 1962, Prasanna Vithanage, directed his first film “Sisila Gini Gani” (Ice of Fire) in 1992 It won nine OCIC Awards (Sri Lanka) including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Four years later in 1996 he wrote and directed his second film“Anantha Rathriya” (Dark Night of the Soul). Based on Leo Tolstoy’s last novel “Resurrection”, the film won a Jury’s Special Mention at the First Pusan International Film Festival and went on to win all the main awards at the 1996 Sri Lanka Film Critics Forum Awards (affiliated with FIPRESCI) including awards for Most Outstanding Film, Best Director and Best Screenwriter.
“Pawuru Walalu” (Walls Within), his third feature in 1997 won the Best Actress Award at the 1998 Singapore International Film Festival. It even won ten out of eleven awards including Best Picture and Best Director at the Sri Lanka Film Critics Forum Awards.
His fourth feature “Purahanda Kaluwara” (Death on a Full Moon Day) , 1997, which he wrote and directed won the Grand Prix at the Amiens Film Festival. It is one of the most successful film in the more than half a century history of cinema in Sri Lanka.
Prasanna Vithanage completed “Ira Madiyama” (August Sun) his fifth film in 2003. It went on to win many international awards and was featured prominently in the world festival circuit.
In 2007, Vithanage co-produced the hit film “Machan” a comedy about a group of working class con artists posing as a handball team, directed by “The Full Monty” producer Uberto Pasolini. “Machan” premiered at the 65th Venice Film Festival in 2008.
2008 also saw the world premiere of Prasanna Vithanage’s sixth feature film as director, “Akasa Kusum” (Flowers of the Sky) in Pusan, Korea. The film has been screened in over thirty festivals to wide acclaim winning numerous international awards.
Vithanage’s film work stands at the intersection of violence, gender and social injustice.
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