“செங்கடல்”

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Sengadal, the Dead Sea – SCREENING IN TORONTO + DISCUSSION WITH DIRECTOR

MONDAY, JULY 1, 2013 AT 1:30 P.M.

 

YORK CINEMAS                              

115 York Blvd

 

Richmond Hill, Ontario


 

Canada L4B 3B4

 

 

For More information:

 

 

 

 

sengadaltoronto@gmail.com

 

 

416. 727. 2391

 

 

Sengadal, the Deadsea                            

A community participatory cinema by Leena Manimekalai


102 minutes

 

Short Synopsis :

Sengadal, the Dead Sea is a feature film which captures the fragments of simple lives beaten by three decade long ethnic war in Sri Lanka. It unfolds in a fisher village at Dhanushkodi, the southernmost tip of India where life and death co exist.

 

About Sengadal:

Ethnic cleansing is a vile act but a greater evil would be to neglect a community that is a sad reminiscent of a war-ravaged country.

Dhanushkodi, the Indo-Sri Lankan border town, is the crucible wherein History is brewing this concoction of defeated lives and exhausted dreams. Hope is a big word and resistance but a tired expression. Three decades of struggle for a nation is washed out, a race obliterated.

The time when the history clots around the genocide of Tamils in Mullivaickal, the film documents the actual from a small community of simple fishermen folk who live in these godforsaken tsunami torn ghost towns.

Sengadal, is a movie that opens an eye for a man-made crisis to a civilized world where innocent people are crushed under the cloak of diplomacy. Sengadal, the Dead Sea is a feature film which captures the fragments of simple lives beaten by three decade long ethnic war in Sri Lanka. It unfolds in a fisher village at Dhanushkodi, the southernmost tip of India where life and death co exist.

The internationally acclaimed film draws our attention to some of the stark realities of post war trauma of Tamils.

Using a simulated environment of real events with a community participatory cinema model, Sengadal was able to bring to light several painful events.

Apart from the obvious cause to show the Tamil community’s pain, Sengadal also shows the torment the creator of the film had to go through to put some light on the truth.

 

Movie Plot:

Sengadal, the Dead Sea is a feature fiction film which captures the fragments of simple lives beaten by three decade long ethnic war in Srilanka.It unfolds in a fisher village at Dhanushkodi, the southernmost tip of India where life and death co exist.

On the Indian mainland, across the waters, arrive the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, an unending stream of people dispossessed of their lands and Gods, to an uncertain future with ever receding hopes of return. Dhanushkodi, the Indo-Sri Lankan border town, is the crucible wherein History is brewing this concoction of defeated lives and exhausted dreams. Hope is a big word and resistance but a tired expression. Three decades of struggle for a nation is washed out, a race obliterated.

For, there is no one fighting their war back home now. Heroic images have turned to dust. The bunkers run with the wasted blood. Smoke rises from heaps of putrid flesh. Unwanted lives rot away in barbed wire human zoos.

The misery spills over to the Indian shore. Fishermen fishing in fear in ignorance of friendly and enemy waters get dumped as rebels, spies and smugglers and unceremoniously beaten to death or shot or maimed. Yet, each morning sees their boats launched once again to the sea as the sea is their motherland and the language of fish their mother tongue.

Manimekalai, the filmmaker, Munusamy, the fisherman, Rosemary, the social worker in Jesuit Christian Refugee Services, try hard to retain their sanity in this mad jumble. Their interactions with the dead or living refugees, their skirmishes with the Indian and Sri Lankan States, their personal lives overrun by external events – form the kernel of this narration.  Soori, a half-wit Sri Lankan Tamil, who connects to the world through his radio, stands aloof in this bleak world of despair sending lightning jolts of truth into the dark recesses of History. No wonder, he vanishes into the blue and Manimekalai is forced by the State to return to the world of civil obedience.  Munusamy is killed and Rosemary turns to her God, the same God who parted the Red Sea to save his flock in their flight from annihilation.

Trailers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4__Ps5dfvrs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZeMCOO9Xw0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SFe6ffTqtU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oD_pMgazsU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np6C5q0rixY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGhluZlkSJ0&feature=related

 

URL

www.sengadalthemovie.com

https://www.facebook.com/SengadaltheDeadsea

 

Director’s Statement:

What the world knows is that the war for a separate Tamil Ealam was merely bloodshed, violence and terror.  But, little is known about the struggles of the poor common folk and of the innocent fishermen caught in an internecine war.  They are forced to flee a war ravaged land, battle the sea, and reach safer land in India to increasing hostility and an uncertain future.

The lives of the fishermen on mainland India are no different. These innocent souls are often mistaken for rebels, spies and smugglers. They are beaten by everyone, including Sri Lankan Navy, maimed or killed. Their voices go unheard. They meet their fate under the sand or the roaring sea.

Yet, nothing stops them from putting out to the sea day after day. That is the only world they know – of the fish, the tides and the salty waves.

Sengadal talks of the travails of the fishermen of Dhanushkodi, Rameshwaram, living out their lives in the border waters between Sri Lanka and India.  Kambippadu, a village in Dhanushkodi that was washed out by a giant sandstorm in 1964 is now a village of ruins and this is the focal place where the fiction unwinds. This place, where simple traditional fishermen ply their trade, is where Tamil refugees land either in boats or as floating corpses.

The fishermen of Kambippadu and the Tamil refugees from the Rameshwaram Mandapam refugee camp form the bulk of the artistes in Sengadal. The supporting artistes are from the Kidathiruki Therukoothu troupe.

None of them had ever faced a camera before. The scenes were rehearsed many times with them with script-reading and workshops. The fishermen were involved in almost all activities of the unit like cooking, transport, crowd control and even helping in holding cutters and recording equipments.

The main challenges were lack of electricity, cell phone signals, toilet facilities and public transport. Kambippadu is situated at quite some distance from Dhanushkodi which can be traversed only by jeeps and small vehicles across the shifting sandy ways along the sea shore. The inclement weather and changing water levels of the sea only made things more difficult. It was impossible to camp in the village area. Hence, everyday, men and equipment had to be transported to and fro braving the rain and the difficult terrain.

Refugees acted under trying circumstances as they had to stick to the security regulations of the Mandapam Camp. They could leave the Camp only by 8 AM and had to reach back by 6 PM sharp to mark attendance. Any violation could put them under risk of interrogation. It was a tough task to get them involved in the shooting within these limitations.

Matters were worsened by the fact that Dhanushkodi is a place under constant surveillance by the Coast Guard, Indian Navy, CB CID, Q Branch and Intelligence Bureau as the Sri Lankan shore is a mere 18 km from the place. But, we managed to overcome all these barriers, natural and man-made, to see Sengadal sail though safely to reach its destinations.

 

Director’s Profile:

Leena Manimekalai is an independent Filmmaker, Poet and an Actor.  Her works include three published poetry anthologies and a dozen films in genres, documentary, fiction and experimental poem films.  She has EU Fellowship (2005), Commonwealth Fellowship (2008) and Charles Wallace Art Award (2011) to her credits.  Sengadal the Deadsea is her debut fiction feature film and she is currently working on PSBT Film Fellowship on Pre-Historic Tamil Women Poetry and IAWRT Documentary Fellowship on Indigenous Journalist – Activist Dayamani Barla.

In her quest to contribute and raring to go, she has penetrated her land, state and nationwide, screening her films in more than thousand and odd forums and spaces.  Women Movements, Mass Movements, Dalit Movements, Grassroot NGO’s , Civil Rights Societies, Educational Institutions, Film Societies, Film Festivals etc across the states have showed her films initiating a participatory dialogue and interventions.  And she is able to relate across the line and cadre with humility and modesty having had the privilege of invitation screenings in international platforms and conferences across Unite States, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, South Africa, Kenya, Finland, Venezuela, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Belgrade etc..

She has been recognized with participation, mentions and best film awards in many international and national film festivals.

 

 

To name a few:

Retro – Ethnographic Montages, Chicago Women in Director’s Chair International Film Festival, 2004

Silver Trophy for the Best Documentary in Europe Movies Film Festival , 2004

Best Actor and Best Experimental Video in Independent Art Film Festival , 2005

Best Documentary in Paris and Norway Independent Diaspora Festivals. 2005

Retrospective, International Democratic Socialist Youth Film Festival, Venezuela, 2005

International Jury in Asian Film Festival, Malaysia, 2006

Jury Award for Best Cinema of Resistance – John Abraham National Award, Trivandrum, 2007

Golden Conch for Best International Documentary in Mumbai International Film Festival, 2008

Visiting Scholar Fellowship, Berlinale, 2008

Nomination to Horizon Award, Munich International Film Festival, Germany, 2008

Nomination – Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Brisbane, 2008

One Billion Eyes National Award – Best Documentary, 2008

Indian Panorama Selections for 2011 – Sengadal

NAWFF Award for Best Asian Women Cinema – Sengadal, Tokyo, 2011

 

 

“செங்கடல்”
புயல், நகரின் பெரும்பகுதியைக் கடலில் சுழற்றி எறிய, எஞ்சியிருக்கும் சிதிலங்களையும், அதில் கசியும் உயிர்களையும் ஊரெனத் தாங்கி நிற்கும் தனுஷ்கோடி. இந்தியப் பெருங்கடலும், வங்காள விரிகுடாவும் கலக்கும் அதன் கரையில்,முப்பது வருடங்களாகத் தீராத இலங்கை உள்நாட்டு இனப் போருக்குத் தப்பி ஈழத்து அகதிகள், தங்கள் வாழ்வின் இறுதி நம்பிக்கையைப் பிடித்துக் கொண்டு செத்தோ, உயிரோடோ வந்தவண்ணம் உள்ளனர்.ஆயுதமும், இனவெறியும் நொருக்கிய ஈழத் தமிழர்களின் விடுதலைக் கனவை வரலாறு எட்டி நின்று பார்த்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் காலக்கட்டம்.

சிங்களப் பேரினவாதம், அழித்தொழிக்கப்பட்ட போராளிகள், வீணடிக்கப்பட்ட ரத்தம் உறைந்து நிற்கும் பீரங்கிகள், இன்னும் புதைத்து முடியாத பிணங்கள், வேண்டப்படாத உயிர்களாய் முள்வேலிகளிடையே அடைத்து வைக்கப்பட்ட மனிதவிலங்குப் பண்ணைகள் ,ஒலமிடவும் சக்தியற்று சிதறடிக்கப்பட்ட தமிழினம் மிச்சமுள்ள வாழ்க்கையை வாழ்ந்துவிடும் ஆசையில் ஏதோ ஒரு நாட்டின் எல்லையில் தன் கடைசி ஒரு பிடிமூச்சைத் தாங்கிக் கொண்டு நிற்கின்றது.

கடற் தண்ணீரில் சிங்கள நீரெது? தமிழ் நீரெது? என்ற அச்சத்திற்கிடையே தினமும் மீன் பிடிக்கச் செல்லும் தமிழக மீனவர்கள். விடுதலைப் புலியென்றோ, கடத்தல்காரனென்றோ, உளவாளியென்றோ சந்தேகத்தின் பேரில் சிறிலங்கா எல்லைக் கடற்படையால் நாள்தோறும் அடித்தோ, கொல்லப்பட்டோ, கொள்ளையடிக்கப்பட்டோ துன்புறுத்தப்படுகின்றனர். இருந்தும் அடுத்த வேளை உணவுக்காக கடலில் பாயும் வள்ளங்கள் சுழலுக்கும், புயலுக்கும், மழைக்கும் போலவே குண்டடிகளுக்கும், துப்பாக்கிச்சூட்டுக்கும் அஞ்சாமல், எப்படியும் கரைக்குத் திரும்பி விடும் உறுதியை மீனவ்ர்களுக்கு தருகின்றன.

இந்த சுழலில் தங்கள் இருப்பைத் தக்கவைக்க அலைக்கழிக்கப்படும் மீனவர் முனுசாமி, அகதிகள் நலனுக்கான கிறிஸ்தவ மையத்தில் பணி செய்யும் ரோஸ்மேரி மற்றும் ஆவணப்பட இயக்குனர் மணிமேகலை ஒரு மையப்புள்ளியில் சந்திப்பதும், வெளியேறுவதுமாய் கதையைப் பின்னுகின்றனர். யுத்தத்தாலும்,சதா துரத்தும் மரணங்களாலும் காலத்தையும் வெளியையும் தன் இழுப்புக்கு வளைத்துக் குறுக்குசால் போடும் ஒரு கிறுக்கனாக அறியப்படும் ஈழத்து அகதி சூரி உண்மையின் மயக்கத்தை முன்னறிவித்த தீர்க்கதரிசி.அதிகாரம் அவனின் நாவுகளைத் துண்டித்து எறிகிறது, மணிமேகலையைச் சட்டத்தின் பெயரால் ஒடுக்குகிறது, முனுசாமியைக் கொன்று போடுகிறது, ரோஸ்மேரியை கடவுளின் கையில் பிடித்துக் கொடுக்கிறது. கடவுள் அடிமைகளிற்காகவும் ஏதிலிகளிற்காகவும் செங்கடலை இரண்டாகப் பிளந்தார்.

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