Film southasia

"Festival of southasian documentries"

Silence in the Courts

Directed by Prasanna Vithanage | |



Two women from a farming village about 100 kilometers from the country’s capital were raped within one year by a court judge presiding over cases which involved their husbands as accused parties. They have gone to the Judiciary Services Commission, the BAR Association and to the President of the country to seek justice. The institutions and people were non-responsive to their complaints. Angered husbands of the two women swear revenge but their efforts to avenge the judge are futile. An editor of a leading alternative newspaper publishes the story of one of the women. He continues to follow up the incident and publishes a series of articles exposing the judge’s misdeed. Still, the Attorney General refuses to take action by reprimanding the judge. Due to pressure from the Editor and peers, three years after the incidents, the Judiciary Services Commission appoints a tribunal comprising three high court judges to investigate the accusations made by the newspaper. The tribunal finds the judge to be guilty of all charges. Yet, instead of dismissing the judge from his duties, the Judiciary Service Commission sends him on compulsory leave with pay. The two women’s family lives have been destroyed. After failing to gain justice, the newspaper editor focuses his struggles against the Attorney General who covered up the case. When the Attorney General is up for appointment as the Chief Justice of the country, the newspaper editor writes a book about the system’s failure to deliver justice to commoners based on these women’s’ stories. Nevertheless, 14 years later, today, the editor and the two women are still waiting for justice to be served. In 2014, a filmmaker embarks on a journey to unearth these events and searches for the root causes of this ongoing injustice.

[director]Prasanna Vithanage directed his first film, “Ice of Fire”, in 1992. His second feature, “Dark Night of the Soul” (1996), won the Jury’s Special Mention in the 1st Busan International Film Festival. “Walls Within” (1997) also won awards in Singapore and Amiens, while “Death on a Full Moon Day” (1997) gained the Grand Prix at the Amiens Film Festival but was initially banned by the Sri Lankan Government. His fifth film, “August Sun”, went on to win five international awards and was featured prominently in the world festival circuit including Cannes Film Festival. His sixth feature as writer/director, “Flowers of the Sky” (2008), premiered in Busan International Film Festival, while his seventh feature, “With You, Without You” (2012) won five international awards and was nominated for the Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards. This was the first Sri Lankan film to be commercially released in India. He is also active as an international producer.[/director]


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