Sri Lanka | 2018 | 95 min | Tamil, Sinhala
Suba Sivakumaran’s powerful debut feature concerns two warring Sri Lankan villages—one Tamil, one Sinhala. When both are faced with a curse under which their inhabitants become infertile they resort to desperate solutions, but to no avail. One day, the villagers receive a message from the gods which offers a glimmer of hope—a Sinhala man and a Tamil woman are to be sent to the Forest of the Dead where they will discover the secret to renewing life. Boarding a tiny boat, and accompanied by a foreign doctor, Asoka and Ahalya—the chosen pair—set out to sea and, upon reaching the forest, are forced to confront the hidden stories of their villages as well as their personal secrets. Told in the style of a fable, the film’s episodes are linked to diverse events from Sri Lankan history, and offer a personal reading of a post-conflict society.
Suba Sivakumaran was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. She holds an undergraduate degree from the London School of Economics and a master’s in politics and public policy from Harvard University. Suba is a self-taught director who also works in the fields of international humanitarian aid and poverty reduction. Her debut short film was I Too Have a Name (2012). “House of My Fathers is about all those people who have loved and lost,” says Suba, “and perhaps knowingly or unknowingly betrayed those whom they did love. It is a film made for those who resist easy answers and for those who are committed to facing the truth, especially about themselves.”