Directed by: Lester James Peries
Runtime: 108 minutes
Country: Sri Lanka
Language: Sinhala with English subtitles
After his father’s death, Willy Abenayake (Gamini Fonseka), the last descendant of a once-wealthy family, finds himself left with nothing but debt and a desolate, crumbling mansion. Wanting to preserve his family’s former glory, Willy refuses to put the house up for sale. He discovers an ancient palm-leaf manuscript which seems to offer him a way out of his financial troubles: buried in the vaults of a massive, rose-coloured rock is a matchless treasure worth millions. To retrieve the treasure, Willy must find a virgin with four birthmarks on her chin and neck and perform a devilish sacrifice. Tormented by the impossibility of the task, Willy grows increasingly disturbed, when he miraculously discovers the perfect woman. But her unwavering devotion to him leads him to reconsider his plans—until a sudden contract termination puts his beloved family home at stake.
Based on a short story by G.B. Senanayake, Nidhanaya paints a chilling portrait of a crumbling aristocracy in colonial Sri Lanka through the microcosm of one man’s psychological turmoil. Oft likened to his contemporary Satyajit Ray, Peries won the Silver Lion of St. Mark award at the 1972 Venice International Film Festival for Nidhanaya, which has been lauded as the best film of the first half-century of Sinhalese cinema.
Restored in 2013 by the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in association with Lester James and Sumitra Peries, the National Film Archive of India and the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka, Cinemas Ltd. Additional restoration elements were provided by Degeto Films with restoration funding provided by Doha Film Institute. The restoration was carried out at L’Immagine Ritrovata.
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