QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM THE TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL
Be suspicious when a film is described in its synopsis as “uncategorisable” and “unlike anything you have seen before”. These are often euphemisms for a film that’s nonsensical and purportless. Such is the case with Asandhimitta. This Sri Lankan movie is unapologetically wacky. It’s batshit crazy.
The film is named after its protagonist, played by Nilmini Sigera. One day she phones a filmmaker (Shyam Fernando) suggesting that he turns her story of triple homicide into a film. Next we see Asandhimitta being sexually harassed on a bus. Then she begins a dalliance with a stalker called Vicky (Dhamrapriya Dais). She explains to him that she weighs more than 300 pounds, has been divorced twice and has two children. Despite her warnings, the two develop a profound relationship, and they soon also become partners in crime (in the literal sense). Vicky often morphs into a hairy old man with a huge lump on his shoulder. Somehow he dies and returns to life.
Don’t attempt to put the pieces together. Asandhimitta is wilfully disjointed. Maybe the director wanted to do craft a Sri Lankan version of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2002), with creepy characters shifting into something else, sordid murders and inexplicable twists and turns. If that’s the case, he failed tremendously. Asandhimitta isn’t witty and elaborate. It’s simply helter-skelter. There a few entertaining moments, but overall it’s incomprehensible and draining to watch.
Praise must go to the morbid performances by Nilmini Sigera and Dhamrapriya Dais. They form the ultimate creepy couple. Sigera veers from the avuncular to the sinister in a split second. She often breaks the fourth wall by staring at the audience, with a menacing smile. Her maniacal laughter is rather disturbing. She’s some sort of Sri Lankan version of Divine.
Asandhimitta is showing in Competition at the 22nd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which is taking place right now. It’s very unlikely to win any prizes, and to show outside the festival circuit.