Sri Lanka, 1983: Jude Ratnam was five years old. He fled the massacre of the Tamils instigated by the majority-Sinhalese government on a red train.
Now a filmmaker, he takes the same train from the south to the north of the island.
As he advances, the traces of violence left by the 26-year-old war, which turned the Tamil’s fight for freedom into self-destructive terrorism, pass before his eyes.
Reminiscing about the fighters and Tamil Tigers, he unveils the repressed memories of his compatriots, opening the door to a new era and making peace possible again.
Demons in Paradise is the result of 10 years of work. For the first time, a Tamil documentary filmmaker living in Sri Lanka is showing the civil war from the inside.
To complement the launch of 30 Years Ago and focus on some of the issues the project is anchored to and inspired by, four panel discussions were on the 24th and 25th of August at Park Street Mews, Warehouse D in Colombo.
The inaugural session featured Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon and Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, both of whom have been featured on Groundviews previously writing or speaking about Black July (see here and here). The panel was the very first time appeared together to talk about their unique experiences around the violence in 1983.
The other panels featured some of the Sri Lanka’s best known artists, gallerists, writers, dramatists, activists and journalists.