The BMICH recently shut down a French Film Festival for features ‘Flying Fish’, a story about the war. The film has gotten some play in international film festivals and reviews in places like the New York Times, which said: “Perhaps it’s mean-spirited to say that a movie based on the director’s personal experience of a brutal 26-year civil war is unpleasant. But that’s the word that comes to mind” The Sri Lankan government, however, thought that it was something more like unpatriotic and shut down the whole festival.
Aside from this being quite embarrassing for the sponsors, it’s also diplomatically off for the French, though perhaps that’s the intention. This government seems to honestly miss having foreign interference to beat up on so it’s quite happy to set up straw men to oppose.
While it is perhaps unfortunate that this film was funded by the Dutch for their ‘Tiger Awards’, the film itself, going by its Wikipedia precis, doesn’t seem to be so awful and destructive to the nation that it necessitates shutting down a festival. It was already certified as being OK for public screening the government Public Performance Board, so they’re honestly just acting a bit petty here. Presumably somebody saw it and called someone and action took place that way rather than, you know, through institutions and actual levers of governance. Now the film is probably getting more attention than it ever would