With You, Without You
EXEC PRODS Rahul Roy, Iranthi Abeysinghe, Sunil Fonseka, Nadira Adamaly
PRODS Lasantha Nawarathna, Mohamed Adamaly
SCR Prasanna Vithanage
CAM MD Mahindapala
ED A Sreekar Prasad
PROD DES Rob Nevis
MUS Lakshman Joseph de Saram
PROD CO Delft Films / Monad Art / Aakar and Prasanna Vithanage Productions
Generally recognized as the most compelling of Prasanna Vithanage’s seven feature films, this is a remarkable achievement: an intelligent and poignant love story which lends poetic insight into Sri Lanka’s turbulent politics. Inspired by a Dostoevsky short story, Vithanage’s drama is keenly observed and unsentimental, engaging the audience’s mind and emotions in equal measure.
On one level, it tells the story of the slowly unfolding relationship between Selvi, a young Tamil women fleeing the violence in her homeland and Sarathsiri, a pawnbroker, living alone, seemingly without purpose or direction. On another, the film can be seen as an allegory, with Selvi (Tamil) and Sarathsiri (Sinhalese) representing the two sides in the seemingly unending conflict between Sri Lanka’s two main ethnic communities. The nascent love of the two central characters stumbles along in the face of the largely unspoken challenges of the country’s violent past which rise, unbidden, to haunt them.
With You, Without You has won numerous prizes, including Best Film at Russia’s Sakhalin Festival and Best Actress for Anjali Patil at India’s major festival. It is disarmingly simple and elegant, effects that are, however, only achieved by excellence in all aspects of the film’s making: script, acting, direction and cinematography.