Sanjeewa Pushpakumara :

"Making Flying Fish I can say only one thing for sure: somewhat I was able to cure my soul"


   Invité, pour son film Flying Fish, au Festival des 3 Continents à Nantes en cette année 2011, le cinéaste sri lankais Sanjeewa Pushpakumara a répondu brièvement à nos questions...
   En partenariat avec La Nouvelle Revue de l'Inde.

Interview  -  Flying Fish : bande annonce


  • IR : Sanjeewa Pushpakumara vanakkam, ayubowan, could you please first introduce yourself to our readers?

SP : I was born in Trincomalee, East of Sri Lanka. I have been working as a journalist for newspapers, radio and TV. Now I am working mostly as a film director, but also writer and producer.

  • IR  : Could you also tell us how did it start for you as a film director and producer? Who and what gave you the taste of cinema?

SP : While I was working as a  journalist I was able to watch  a lot of films which I had never seen before. In Colombo there are few  foreign cultural embassies  such as Alliance Française, Goethe (German), American Center and India Cultural Center, as well were there always films screenings  and some films exhibitions and festivals as well which are annually organized by EU, Korea, Iran and other countries. I have always been at those festivals as a moviegoer, while I was watching those films I realized I have many stories to tell the world. Then I began to walk through film studies by myself.S till I can say those festivals inspired me a lot to be a filmmaker.

  • IR  : Who are the film makers, actors actresses you admire the most, in Sri Lanka and abroad?

SP : Filmakers in Sri Lanka I  must say Ashoka Handagama and Prasana Vithanage heavily influcend me, and then Lest James Peries, Dharmasena Patheraja and Dharmasiri Bandaranayake as well. In meanwhile there is a film critic called Manubandu Vidiyapathy; his writings also helped me a lot. In the world cinema, mainly Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman and then so many directors including Bela Tarr, Michel Angelo Antonio, Carlos Reygardas, Weerasethakul, Ceylan, Abbas Kiarosthami, Kim Ki-duk, Ozu, etc.

  • IR  : You made short movies called Touch and Wings to Fly : what would you say about it?

SP : Touch I made in 2007  as final production to my film diploma. It's also about a soldier who lost both of his arms. Wings to Fly also I made as final production of my film studies in Korea in 2008. The film is about an affair  between blind girl and army soldier.

  • IR  : Flying Fish is now a well known movie which was shown and appreciated in festivals all over the world : can you first tell us bout the story?

SP : Please find on Wikipedia all the informations :
   Here is also what was written on BFI site (UK) : "Flying Fish offers an extraordinary journey to the heart of Sri Lankan darkness with no less vivid, sensual images. Set during the 25-year civil war that convulsed Sri Lanka, Pushpakumara’s remarkable debut draws on his own experience growing up in a remote village, where ordinary lives were degraded by the struggle between Tamil Tigers and government forces (shown as equally brutal). Recurrent close-up images of exotic insects and landscapes of startling beauty intersperse scenes of sexual exploitation, making this a far from comfortable films to watch. But there’s no denying its impassioned originality. We gave it the Blue Chameleon jury prize, and there’s a chance to see for yourself in the
London Film Festival."

  • IR  : Where, when and how did you shoot the movie?

SP : Entire film was shot in around my house which is locataed in Eastern province in Sri Lanka. Film shooting completed end of 2010. Whole film was shot within 17days.

  • IR  : Making this movie, did you consider yourself as a committed film maker? What was your main purpose?

SP : Still I don't know exactly, I am a true filmmaker, anyhow I want to be an organic filmmaker in future one day, a self revealing filmmaker. Making Flying Fish I can say only one thing for sure: somewhat I was able to cure my soul.

  • IR  : Has this movie also something to do with your own life? Is it an autobiographical movie?

SP : Certainly this film is  my own life you may say, Flying Fish is as an autobiographical film. As a filmmaker I want to tell about  my own life.

  • IR  : Is it possible for a Sri Lankan film maker to ignore the recent history of this country and the civil war?

SP : I don't think ignoring this history is easy for a filmmaker. This history  has been traumatizing our lives forever. So as a filmmaker  how can be ignoring this?

  • IR  : Is it easy to make movies in Sri Lanka?

SP : I don't think which is easy. As a filmmaker you have  to face many problems. Among them is political situation, which is still worse than financial obstacles as well.

  • IR  : What do you think about Indian cinema, Kollywood, Bollywood...?

SP : To be honest, I have no business about those cinemas but I am not refusing them since people like those cinemas. I can only  say which is not neither my cinema or expecting  cinema. I know these cinemas spoiling people minds and exploring the pocket of ordinary people but people still like it.

  • IR  : Now what are your plans about next movie ?

SP : I have been developing two projects wish I could be able to turn on these projects into  films . Will see, we never know what would happen in next minutes.

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