Monday Movie: Between Two Worlds
It’s both disheartening and oddly encouraging to realize that there are great films, perhaps even masterpieces, that you not only haven’t seen but haven’t even heard of. Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Between Two Worlds didn’t get much of a release in the U.S. at all in 2009 and remains almost impossible to see here today.
Narratively, the film is difficult to describe. At the beginning, a young man appears to fall from the sky into the ocean. He comes ashore into an unspecified city where massive violence has broken out. Fleeing the danger, he hitches a ride to the countryside and begins to either make his way to or merely find himself near a village that it seems may be his home. But that’s leaving out the fishermen and the shirtless minivan driver and the boy trying to dig a cable out of the ground and, oh yeah, the prince who lives in the hollow of a tree.
Maybe the more accurate, if more glib, plot description would be to say that, in Between Two Worlds, a bunch of weird stuff happens. Some of it seems to be actually happening in the story and some of it in the protagonist’s mind, though he himself doesn’t always know the difference. Chronology and the passage of time are not concerns. What’s important are the breathtaking, gorgeous shots of rural Sri Lanka and the entrancing oddness of being dropped into a strange, violent world you don’t understand. You are left to decide whether you should become like this place or fight against it or if you even have a choice at all.