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.
Meera Srinivasan’s op-ed on Jude Ratnam’s Demons in Paradise, a Sri Lankan documentary that examines the Tamil community’s internal struggles during the civil war that recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
« Though sceptical about whether many would be willing to screen or distribute the film, he is steeling himself to be labelled a “traitor” by many Tamils, as the LTTE and its supporters branded its critics within the Tamil society. ‘Not just in Sri Lanka, I want to ask film viewers in India, and particularly in Tamil Nadu, who shed tears for Eelam Tamils, if they have the courage to watch this film made by a Sri Lankan Tamil who lived here all through the years of war.' »