scene from the movie

In The Name Of Buddha is ready just in time for its world premiere at the Oslo International Film Festival. It is a strong and gripping drama, with the war on Sri Lanka as a constant central element. The film depicts ordinary people and terrible happenings outside their control. The previously peaceful island in the Indian Ocean has for the last twenty years been the stage for an enormous human tragedy. More than 900 000 have fled the country since 1983. More than 60 000 have lost their lives.

In The Name Of Buddha is about the Tamil Siva, forced to escape his home country and become a refugee in Great Britain. The film depicts his and his family?s experiences concerning human rights and random violence, a result of a conflict where violence only begets new violence. Local freedom fighters, the Sri Lankan army and Indian peacekeepers all play their parts of this grotesque predicament, and the vicious circle can only be solved by a genuine will for peace, independent of race and religion.

SRI LANKA - A nation ravaged by armed ethnic conflict that has been raging for nearly two decades. The once peaceful and prosperous island in the Indian Ocean, just a few miles away from the Indian sub-continent has witnessed one of the worst ever genocide in history. A sizeable segment of the population was forced to flee their homeland and to take asylum in other countries, trying, more often than not, in vain, to get refugee status. The following figures reveal the magnitude of the problem.

UNHCR estimates that 917,000 Sri Lankans fled the country since 1983. 714,000 were internally displaced.
Between 1989 and 1998, 156,926 applications for asylum were received in Europe alone.
31,271 sought asylum in Canada.
83,946 SriLankans applied for asylum in North America and Australia.
In Britain, between 1980 and 2000, 41,985 sought asylum.
More than 60,000 lost their lives during the two decades of war.

The movie “ in the name of Buddha is the film maker’s response to this enormous human tragedy that has engulfed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people. The film tells the story of Siva, a native Tamil from Sri Lanka (and by implication identical stories of thousands like him) who was compelled to leave his motherland and take refuge in UK. The story narrates the harrowing experience he went through, in vivid, visual details.

The film portrays the agony of a people devastated by circumstances beyond their control, of ordinary folks who only wanted ‘peace of mind and a decent life’ as a protagonist puts it in the end.

The focus is on the atrocities, flagrant violations of human rights: the freedom fighters, the Lankan Army, the Indian Peace Keeping Force - all vie with one another in inflicting mindless violence on the hapless victims. The message that emerges urges one to take a non-partisan stand condemning violence and blood-shed, no matter who the perpetrators are or what their justifications be. It’s an impassioned plea to the collective conscience of all right thinking people, a plea to shun violence once for all and to turn to the path shown by the Buddha and Gandhi. The film upholds the value of compassion and abjures all forms of retribution. There is no room for rhetoric.

With its spectacular images, great music and strong scenes, this feature film is a topical cry for peace. The filmmakers will be present during the screenings in Oslo.

Reference: In the name of Buddha