In New Films From Israel and Sri Lanka, Faith Struggles in the Shadows
Two films in particular from the International Competition, “Dark in the White Light” (Vimukthi Jayasundra) and “Tikkun” (Avishai Sivan) deal with the most pressing question for the faithful: life after death. The most profound rite of passage, death, is treated differently by different religions (Buddhism and Judaism), yet similarly in relation to God: the believer shouldn’t defy His will.
”Dark in the White Light” describes several connected stories. The focus is on a Buddhist monk, who seeks enlightenment, and his opposite in terms of character: a corrupt doctor who is accomplice to illegal kidney transplants. The variety of characters include a charlatan who organizes the illegal trafficking of organs, a student who wants to become a doctor, and the silent driver, who is the ally of the unscrupulous doctor. Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundra deals with a round story, framed within a discussion between villagers in the jungle, as if a legend or a myth has come to life on screen. It seems the dark interlaced stories we just saw are a product of their oral culture, stories ignorant people tell about the afterlife.