"Sankara": A Screen Meditation By Salome Kikaleishvili

in 10th Dhaka International Film Festival

by Salome Kikaleishvili

Prasanna Jayakody, director of the movie Sankara, on his film:

This is my debut. It’s Sankara.

The meaning of the word “sankara” is what we dispose of, dirt, or in ordinary sense passion. Sankara has been created to talk about the “klesha” (as said above, passion) and the man whose sufferings are caused by passion or “klesha”.

The basis to any discussion of life, according to the philosophy that guides an artist, I believe has two dimensions: Materialistic life and spiritual life.

Though we base our lives upon the materialistic world, there is no eternal truth in that. I feel that there is no difference between the materialistic life and the dreams we see.

If there is one thing that is not materialistic in life, that is the mind. We do not know whether the mind exists inside or outside the body. But the eternal wanderer’s existence lies within the mind.

If one speaks about life, is there any purpose in discussing external trivialities that could be perceived by the eyes? The answer is no, because there is a deeper sense to life than what we see through our eyes. This is why I decided to analyze the mind through Sankara. Mind is something that exists between existence and non-existence. The mind lies within and depends upon passions, the klesha. They are born out of the desires of five senses, i.e. sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing; these five senses can be called “five causal elements” (pancha upaadaana skandla).

The question of my film is: How can a young reverend with propensities for life’s desires detach himself from them? Though I did not try to give any message through Sankara , the film expresses how man suffers in life, and I attempted to make the spectators feel what man experiences when he transcends earthly life and reaches the spiritual.

Prasanna Jayakody was born in 1968 to an artistic family strongly rooted in traditional Sinhala values, and grew up in a Buddhist environment. Maybe this is the reason why his first movie, Sankara, is so infused with Buddhist philosophy, where the inner world of the main hero, a Buddhist monk, is shown through changes of mystic landscapes, attention to nature and expressing love for its beauty. There is almost no dialogue; one hears only the rustling of leaves, the trickling of drops of water, chirping of birds. One sees only Buddhist frescoes, inside and outside the temples. Everything — the picture and the sound — succumbs to meditation. Indeed, the movie itself seems to become a meditation, where there is no time, but instead an infinite space, beautiful and magnetic, tempting and charming.