Sunday Observer Online


News Bar »

News: Biggest trade fair in Jaffna after seven years ...           Political: Tamil political parties pledge support to EPC ...          Finanacial News: Millionaires are the biggest loan defaulters in Lanka ...          Sports: ‘Loku’ thinks best chances of playing lie in limited-over cricket ...

DateLine Sunday, 18 May 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette


Red carpet welcome for Gamperaliya at Cannes today

Gamperaliya for Cannes Classic Restored Films:

Martin Wickramasinghe, fondly remembered founder of modern Sri Lankan novel.

Sri Lankan cinema will make its presence felt, once again, at the prestigious Cannes Festival as restored version of Dr. Lester James Peries’s Gamperaliya which is based on the celebrated novel by Sri Lanka’s foremost novelist, sage of Koggala, Martin Wickamasinghe will be screened at the festival under the category of Cannes Restored Classics.

Gamperaliya which won the Gran Prix at the Indian Film Festival in 1965 and it also won the Gran Prix at Mexico film festival in the same year, has been selected this year for the Cannes International Film Festival for its very special section Cannes Classics Restored.

This year Gamperaliya has been selected as one of the Cannes Classics which entitled it to be universally appreciated by international film critics who attend the festival.

The doyen of Sri Lankan Cinema, Dr. Lester James Peries: bringing honour to the tear drop and the cultural dessert amidst a vast ocean of cultural prosperity.

The film has been restored in America by the University of Southern California (UCLA) in USA which has a technologically perfect restoration unit. This particular unit is entirely funded by Packard who are responsible for the selection of Gamperaliya.

The restoration of Gamperaliya has become a significant event for both Gamperaliya coming from the 1965s and for Sri Lankan film industry. Another significant aspect of the restoration was that Gamperaliya could be distributed on DVD for most film archives in Europe and the rest of the World.

When the restored version of Gamperaliya scheduled to be screened at Cannes in the category of Cannes Classic on May 18, 2008 (Sunday) that Gamperaliya will have a new lease of life. For this year’s Cannes Film festival 22 films are selected out of 1700 entries for the main section, for the competition.

The entry of Gamperaliya into the section of Cannes Classics will automatically make it one of the celebrated classics in the world cinema, a defining moment for Sri Lankan cinema.

Section other than the competitive section though not qualified for awards, has a universal acclaim and would grab the focus of international film critic fraternity.

Mr. and Mrs. David Packard themselves have taken a personal interest in the restoration of films that fall into this category and all the cost of restoration would have been borne by Hewlett Packard.

Scene from Gamperaliya, which stands out as a magnum opus among the great cinematic creations that truly depicts the enchanting village life at the tale end of the 19 the Century capturing very essence of the creative genius of Martin Wickramasinghe.

The film was restored as a result of strong recommendations by a distinguished French critic and scholar Pierre Rissient to the visual and audio perfection by Rob Stone and Jere Guldin.

This singular honour has been possible due to the dedication and untiring efforts across the two continents, by Pierre Rissient of France and the University of South California to restore the film to its original magnificence; “Lester James Peries’s towering masterpiece ‘Gamperaliya’ from a country like Sri Lanka whose existence of cinematography is practically ignored, showing of ‘Gamperaliya’ will be celebrated as a major discovery-and it is certain that all the festivals, Archives, Museums, Cinematheques, Arts and Repertory theatres, Collectors and DVDs will make this film at long last known as the masterpiece”.

In 1957, Rekawa had been selected for the competition, the only Sinhala film selected for the main competition. Besides Dr. Lester James Peries’ Beddegama and Kaliyugaya have also been selected for the category Director’s Fortnight, one of the Side bars at the Festival.

Director’s Fortnight, Critic’s choice and Uncertain Regards are the side bars at the Festival. Dr. Lester James Peries’ Wekanda Walauwa was shown at the Festival as a special invited film and Feline Gold Medal was given for Wekanda Walauwa. After 47 years, Gamperaliya will be screened as a restored classic.

Buddhist calendar illuminates Vesak

Kalasuri Jayasiri Semage

Kalasuri Jayasiri Semage has produced a Buddhist Calendar to mark the forthcoming Vesak festival. The calendar will be distributed free by the President’s office on a directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and first lady Shiranthy Rajapaksa.

Kalasuri Semage’s paintings have a close affinity with the vesak festival. A pandal created by him can be seen in Colombo or any other part of the island during the festival. One of his pandals put up in front of the Temple of the Tooth Relic about three years ago depicted the story of the Tooth Relic in colourful pictures.

In fact, he won the first prize for his painting entitled “Budu siritha” at an art exhibition organised by the Jathika Kala Peramuna, that happened while he was a student. The painting was presented to a visiting Japanese Buddhist delegation which took it to Japan to be displayed permanently at an art gallery.

The Vesak calenders issued in previous years depicted temple murals done by Sri Lankan painters. Kalasuri Semage has deviated from this practice by producing a calender with four paintings that highlight a calendar with four paintings that highlight certain important aspects of the Buddha’s life.

In a telephone interview Semage told me that he had concentrated on the birth of Prince Siddhartha, the Great Renunciation, Sujatha’s presentation of milk rice and the Enlightenment.

He says he has done justice to the four paintings using water colours, without using his traditional oil paints an d canvas. He further says that the printing of the calendars is now in progress with the blessings of the President.

From what he says I gather that the Enlightenment stands out as a unique creation because it has deviated from the traditional style. What we saw all these years was the sedate image of the Buddha sitting under the Bo Tree being worshipped by a host of gods.

Semage’s painting shows how the Buddha lights up the whole world with his Enlightenment. The artist has captured with his brush strokes now the birds, trees and creepers turn towards the Buddha paying their homage.

Although calendars are valid from January to December, Semage’s Vesak calender will begin its lifespan from Vesak this year to Vesak nest year. Therefore, every temple and Buddhist home will be eager to adorn their walls with this unique calender. The paintings are worthy of framing because they are printed on quality art paper.

Kalasuri Jayasiri Semage has a chequered history as a Buddhist painter in Sri Lanka and abroad for many decades. About ten years ago he constructed a pandal depicting the then President’s ‘Dasaraja Dharma”, He put up a Buddhist pandal for nine consecutive years in front of the Temple Trees during R. Premadasa’s regime.

A few years ago he put up a huge Buddhist pandal in Japan. In addition, he is credited with the creation of Buddhist murals at Mangala Vihara in Singapore. He also created a large painting of Borobudur to mark the Vesak festival in Singapore.

He became a well-known painter in Singapore when he published a book depicting many aspects of the Buddha’s life.

The Singapore Buddhists hold him in high esteem as the painter who created a beautiful painting depicting the Buddha’s first Dhammadesana to his five pupils.

The rare painting was later deposited at Man-fat-Lam Chinese temple in Singapore. With his Vesak calender Kalasuri Jayasiri Semage will go down history as one of the foremost Buddhist painters produced by Sri Lanka. His commitment to Buddhist art should serve as a guiding light to the new generation of artists.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

| News | Editorial | Financial | Features | Political | Security | Spectrum | Impact | Sports | World | Plus | Magazine | Junior | Letters | Obituaries |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2007 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor