Directed by: Dharmasena Pathiraja
Runtime: 125 minutes
Country: Sri Lanka
Language: Sinhala with English subtitles
Rating: NC16 (Some Coarse Language)
Looking for business, Victor (Vijaya Kumaratunga) returns from the city to Kalpitiya, the humble fishing village where his father was born. His arrival is met with hostility from the local patriarch, Anton, whose authority is challenged by the urban entrepreneur’s swaggering wealth. Tensions escalate when Victor falls in love with Helen (Malini Fonseka), a beautiful village girl who is already promised to another man, setting off a heated chain of violence.
Dharmasena Pathiraja’s realist drama pits the emerging urban bourgeoisie, with its capitalist values and disrespect for traditional social norms, against the established order of the village. Yet, the film hints at the ways in which both sides might prove to be equally exploitative. Shot on grey—rather than black-and-white film, Bambaru Avith evokes the dry, gritty atmosphere of the remote seaside village.
Selected for the Classics section of Cannes International Film Festival in 2020, Bambaru Avith (The Wasps Are Here) is the first South Asian film title restored by the Asian Film Archive. Intensive manual repairs were conducted to rescue the sole-surviving 35mm release print, which was in critical condition. 4750 hours were spent on the 4K digital restoration by L’Immagine Ritrovata, bringing this elegant masterpiece back to the silver screen.
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