Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bridge on the River Kwai – The Hollywood masterpiece shot in Ceylon

I had heard of The Bridge on the River Kwai back when I was a kid. It wasn’t much – just that the film was shot in some Sri Lankan locations. I only got hold of the disk from an MC joint a couple of weeks back and was able to watch it just a few days back. The movie is of such cinematic brilliance, which makes me feel regret of the age I took to press play. The plot for the movie is loosely based on the British POWs who were forced to build a bridge over the river Kwai in Burma. This 7 Academy Award winning British 1957 World War II masterpiece was filmed almost entirely in Ceylon. 1957 may seem too far away; yet, the 1997 film restoration was done to the very last wrinkle, and the unfolding utter picturesque sceneries of Ceylon is an unforgettable pleasure to watch. Spanning across the beds of Kelani river in Kithulgala (where the legendary $250,000 wooden bridge was constructed and destroyed before S.W.R.D Bandaranayake’s entourage), panoramic views high above from Diyathalawa, blossomed flower fields of Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, and finally extending to the Mt. Lavinia beach in the west, The Bridge on the River Kwai is the ultimate and solitary signature of Sri Lankan splendor in Hollywood. In my opinion, it’s a movie that every Sri Lankan should experience – the marvels English did on our soil. It’s also one of those rare movies where each minute spent before the screen pays off in the end.

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