Uppalavanna (A Film from Sri Lanka)


This two-hour long film is set during the murderous communist (JVP) uprising in the south of Sri Lanka in the 1980s.

Main Plot: The communist groups have splintered and an insurgent assassinates a former comrade but is seriously injured in the process.

The assailant manages to escape to the grounds of a nearby wilderness nunnery, where he is discovered by the nun Uppalavanna.

Acting out of compassion she helps him by giving food and medicine and doesn’t report him to the authorities.

Eventually he is discovered and the villagers blame the nuns for Uppalavana’s actions, and she has to leave the nunnery.

The story also relates how Uppalavanna became a nun: as a high-caste young woman she falls in love with a low-caste drummer and elopes with him.

Her Mother fades away and dies, and when the daughter returns with her lover he is killed by her Father. He ends up in prison, and she ordains.

The film is mainly focused on the nunnery and the relationships between the head nun, a newly ordained novice and Uppalavanna.

We are not told what to think about any of the actions in the film but are left to decide for ourselves about the actions and their outcome.

Be warned the film has the credits at the beginning of the film, running for 3 mins 50 secs. You can jump to the end of that section if you like.


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