Munnel மணல்Directed by Visakesa Chandrasekaram
Cast: Dharu Baalan, Gowtham Sharma, Kamala Sri Mohan Kumar, Sivakumar Lingeswaran, Thurkka Magendran
Special Jury Award, 2023 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Best Film, 2023 Imagine India International Film Festival
Opening Night Film, 2023 Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
Five years after the crippling Sri Lankan civil war, ex-Tamil Tiger Rudran returns home. He’s been granted bail because of a debilitating leg injury, and so he watches from the sidelines as his old buddies play beach volleyball and as a seaside town quietly mourns and prays that their missing beloveds will one day return too. At the center of the city’s hope is Rudran’s mother, a soothsayer who can see the future and curse those who stand in the way of their collective grieving.
For Rudran though, there is only one missing person he wants to see: his old girlfriend Vaani, who nobody in town seems to want to talk about. Meanwhile, Rudran doesn’t want to talk about his own war experiences, and the mutual silences sit like a fog on the sand, paralyzing a community seeking a way to move forward. Meanwhile, mystery men in cars spy from the distance, and the specter of war is always a side glance away.
For a film of reunions, epic romance, a courtroom battle, and a bold spiritual journey, SAND is remarkably reserved, reflecting on a nation’s trauma by letting the unspeakable remain unspoken. Recent history exists in calmly-recalled memories and photographs that are all battered, despite only being a few years old. Many dream of a world beyond – the U.S., Canada, Australia – but director Visakesa Chandrasekaram keeps his camera to the island, ghosts and all.
– Brian Hu
Directed by Rajee Samarasinghe
Old family photos collide with lush psychographics to explore the imprint of colonialism and power on desire.