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.'”