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self-narration To Monologue

The incident, which lead to the self-narration I wrote, which became the basic basis for the creation of the script of this film, is the starting point of the journey so far. Beginning in 2012 and extending to 2023, this essay gradually developed and was not originally written to build a film script. The essay is a self-expression written in connection with personal experiences and events that I or those close to me have faced in relation to love or breakup at different periods of my life. In many cases, the ideas and thoughts that I wrote or someone else shared with me in order to get rid of mental pressure or stress are contained in this self-narration.

One night in 2012, I, a university student at the time, was staying with some of my friends when another friend dropped by unexpectedly. That meeting with him, who was under severe mental stress and depression, and the experience of listening to his self-expression that day inspired me to build this kind of essay.

At that time, I was studying drama and theater at the university, and I had a special interest in the ability to identify the dramatic nature of various events encountered in everyday life and connect them to creative processes. As a result, the voice of the conversation that took place at the time of this incident was recorded. Rather than worrying at that moment about the moral right to use such a conversation or experience for creative work, I did so considering the knowledge and understanding that can be gained through that experience. (Later I informed him about it.)

About five years after that incident (2017) with the breakup of my then-existing love relationship, I wrote until the pages were filled with inner feelings and thoughts that flowed through many sleepless nights as a result of my efforts to control my mental and physical behavior as well as the emotional pressure and pain I experienced. By then, I had already listened to many such situations and experiences of many people around me, and because the information related to them had gathered in my mind, my mind began to sink into confusion through those memories. 

After re-reading the thoughts and ideas written on those occasions, I intended to combine them all into one text. Later, from time to time, combining all such essays on love and romance, the writings were systematically edited.

By constantly reading the text written in this way, gave me the understanding that this text must be used as a basis for a creation. Then I decided to reveal this in the form of a monologue presented by myself. Then I read the essay with my friends and asked their opinions about it. I carefully read and reviewed those comments. In some such cases, by the time I finished reading it, my friends around me had fallen asleep. Undeterred, I gradually relieved my mental stress by reading again and again and sharing with others. While reading in that way, my thoughts which I have turned into words in that text were interpreted through various angles. The turmoil I experienced during that period made me question the very essence of existence and the true meaning of our most tightly held-concepts of love and romance.

That period can be known as the darkest period of my struggle I did with myself to recover from that mental stress without going to the point of suicide. Time passed like that. One day after some years, I met my extremely good friend ‘Alutha’ (Prasad Aluthwattha), who directed the movie ‘Asmimānaya’. That meeting, which took place after a long time, marks a very special turning point in the back story associated with this film.

A long conversation started between the two of us when he was in a state of great mental shock due to the sudden suicide of a close friend who had been together since his school days. Then we both went to a forest monk’s monastery in a difficult area (Tanamalwila) far away from the city and while driving the car back at night, I read the above-mentioned monologue to him. After reading it, he said that he would like to turn that self-narration into a film, and he recognized the ambition and desperation of youth found in that essay and the space to question the existence and human relationships. At that moment, I gave him the monologue that I had written by turning my inner thoughts into words, trusting that he will do justice to the script.

That is how we both took the first step to creating this movie ‘Asmimānaya’.

Jayampathi Guruge (Jam) 

SpaceEka Artist’s Residency

2023 April

Monologue To Screenplay

I first met ‘Jam’ (Jayampathi Guruge), the author of the original monologue on which the movie ‘Asmimānaya’ is based, in 2006 when I was a school student. At that time, he and I were students in the same class studying drama and theater. Later, when we were studying at the university, he studied drama and performing arts and I studied cinema, so we met again and again at various creative engagements. Therefore, even though both of us were educated in two universities, we did creative work together from that time. However, that night, which paved the way for the making of this film as well as the long journey of our friendship, is one of the milestone events in both of our lives.

It was one night in the year 2015 when we were returning from a long trip, I was driving the car and he read his monologue from the adjacent seat. At that time, I was greatly disturbed by the sudden death of a very close friend in my life, and I was very sad and depressed. From a young age, many hopes and expectations in life were broken, and I experienced how close human relationships built over a long period of time were broken due to various reasons. Because of those, by that time a crisis of “existence and reality” had arisen in me. As a result, there was a space to see the emptiness of the “cores and values” that we constantly discuss. The end of a long love relationship that happened even without a clear expression of a parting, the death of a close friend who was in the same dormitory with me, in an accident, the suicide of my friend since school days, with whom I panned our future together and who had been a part of many of my creations until that time, all happened one after the other. How strange are the people who think they know each other so well? What kind of understanding does another person have about the world created in that person’s sanctuary? Those questions remained before me. In short, I felt how isolated we as individuals are in this endless universe.

Because of this, I strongly understood that we need to look at the “reality” we connect with from an alternative perspective and how flawed and delusional the concept of “reality” we construct is when we associate with an external world positioning “me” in the center. As a result, I was inspired to seek alternative philosophical, religious, and scientific definitions of reality and the background for the film Asmimana was established. 

When I finished listening to the self-narration read by ‘Jam’, I felt strongly how critical and problematic the sad common reality, the lost human nature, and the isolation that we all face individually. I realized that the commonality of the experiences in that self-narration, the desperation and helplessness embedded in its words, was very close to my own experience. That is the sad result of the “Illusion of the world that we say exists“, which is generally agreed by us collectively. Listening to that self-narration confirmed me how lonely, helpless, and tired we all are individually. So, I told him right away that I would like to make this into a movie. While listening to it, I told my opinion about the nature of the scenes created in my mind and about its cinematic treatment. Jam clearly expressed his wish for it. Since then, we both developed the monologue into a screenplay through a long process.

While preparing the screenplay, in some cases, the screenplay was written by spending several days at the selected scene. In some cases, the script was also edited on the set while filming. While bringing the script into cinematography, I drew its frames separately. In developing the screenplay, special attention was paid to the way the concept is nurtured, the related dialogues and the actor’s portrayal, and the formation of formative features such as narrative and image composition.

Thus, while constructing the screenplay, I had to compare, mix and differentiate the different natures of the individual mind embedded in its content, and understand the different meanings hidden in them – again and again. In its first stage, the network of events with three characters found in the island was created and in the second and third stages, scenes with three characters found in the forest were created.

In order to understand the deep concepts that come from the vision of the Buddha, it was necessary to understand them both theoretically and practically. In many cases, we had to work hard and travel long distances to find the right sources, people, and places.

Prasad Aluthwattha (Alutha) 

SpaceEka Artist’s Residency

2023 April