Top 5 Sri Lankan movies you shouldn’t miss

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Grab some manyokka chips and some thambili, we are rounding up some of the best in Sri Lankan cinema.

1. Machan (2008)

Director Uberto Pasolini explores the lengths people from third world countries would go to in order to search for better life overseas. Forming a fake National handball team simply to get a visa calls for some humorous events. The cringe worthy part is this is based on a true story. That`s right, in 2004 a fake Sri Lankan National handball team did travel to Germany simply to go missing at the end of the tournament. Receiving a 10 minute standing ovation at the 2008 Venice Film Festival makes this pick a must watch.

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2. Ho Gana Pokuna (2014)

Big dreams, music and rocket ships, the beauty of a children`s movie is in its innocence and simplicity. However Director Indika Fernando has managed to bring to life some strong characters mixed with good acting, singing and humour. The school Teacher played by Anasuya Subasinghe is on her first teaching appointment and her enthusiasm and will power is proving to be contagious in the small village. Winning numerous international awards in the Czech Republic and U.S.A, Ho Gana Pokuna was also awarded the Best movie and Most popular movie at the 38th Lucas International Children`s Film Festival held in Germany. Not to mention Jayalath Manoratne`s role as the licenseless bus driver won him the Best supporting actor award at the Derena Sunsilk Film Awards 2016. It`s a Toe tapping movie for the whole family.

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3. Samanala Thatu (2006)

A little street boy`s dream of owning a red bicycle is his only motivation in life making him unaware of all the circumstances around him. However it certainly opens our eyes to the hardships taking place in our land. Somaratne Dissanayake`s brilliant showcase of the realities faced by street children and how betrayal of the downtrodden has become a day to day event in our society will make you question how we live our selfish lives. The story revolves around Sira played by Dasun Madusanka, his handicapped sister (Dulanjali Ariyathillake) and Parents who have taken residence under a banyan tree. Excellent performances by the child actors paired with veteran actors such as Duleeka Marapana and Suminda Sirisena results in a heart warming film which is guaranteed to bring you to tears.

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4. Sagara Jalaya (1988)

Director Sumitra Peries took us filmgoers on an emotional journey where we saw high caliber film making and acting. Heen Keli played by Swarna Mallawarachchi made us witness acting at its best. Her fiery character is left to bring up her son by herself after the death of her husband. This proves to be a difficult task while living in a remote village with narrow minded villagers. Since its release in 1988 Sagara Jalaya has managed to bag almost every award. Swarna Mallawarachchi won the best actress award in several award ceremonies. This is an intense film which may not be suitable for children due to its dialog and storyline however as a Sri lankan filmgoer this rates very high.

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5. Gamperaliya (1963)

As the name suggests the film focuses on changes in the village during the economic downturn which affects Sri Lanka leaving many to pick up the pieces. The story`s main focus is on the love story between Piyal and Nanda. Due to social status they are prevented from uniting. Over time these changes themselves provide an opportunity to rekindle their romance. However they soon realize they may no longer be the same Piyal and Nanda. An adaptation from the novel by Martin Wickramasinghe, Gamperaliya set the standard in Sri Lankan film making and gained much appreciation from film industry. As renowned playwright Ediriweera Sarachchandra commented “I want to say a great film has been made of a great novel”. This timeless film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 under the French title ‘Changement Au Village’ proving to maintain its number 1 status amongst filmgoers.

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Written by Talia Weerakkody

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I am a realist constantly striving to be an optimist.

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