Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Morten Daae
Directed by Beate Arnestad
DVD, color, 60 min.
College - Adult
Asian Studies, Terrorism
Reviewed by Michael J. Coffta, Business Librarian, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Date Entered: 5/19/2008
Outside of mainstream Western media reports, Sri Lanka has been in a state of civil war since 1983 with approximately 67,000 casualties. This daring documentary represents the first filmed account of the Black Tiger suicide cadres, fighting against the Sri Lankan army for separation of the Tamil region. Featured in this film is Darshika, a 24 year old woman terrorist (a moniker that the Black Tigers reject), who abandoned her family to join this resistance movement. Interviews with Darshika’s mother throughout the film get into the psyche of the opposition fighter, and the impact of her membership. The film offers extensive interviews with several of these combatants and probes their personal reasons for joining. Many share tales of bloodshed, looting, and other crimes as their crystalline motives for taking up organized arms. Objectively stated, this film drives home the point that these fighters are well trained and regimented, not merely a group of random thugs. It also offers an extensive portrayal of the living conditions in Sri Lanka.
I dare say that there has never been a documentary like this one. It deeply explores the single-mindedness, desperation, and mindset of these cyanide capsule- carrying opposition fighters. The depth of this exploration cannot be overstated. Darshika’s best friend and Black Tiger comrade plainly states that she will shoot Darshika should their leader order it.
I recommend this film to audiences, college age and up, interested in this often overlooked crisis.