Directed by Sydney Chandrasekara
Written by Thivanka R. Perera
Starring Richard Manamudali, T. Maduka Wijesinghe, Jagath Beneragama, Mihiri Yapa, Iresha Namali
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
A beautifully shot fable about the impermanence of life, and the weathered state one can find oneself in, short film Cobbler's Dream is a cautionary piece about not taking life for granted, especially those people who make up its main parts. Written by Thivanka R. Perera and directed by Sydney Chandrasekara, the movie is heartwarming and moving whilst being visually compelling.
Gunpala (Richard Manamudali) is a weary cobbler with a young son called Akila (T. Maduka Wijesinghe), and the pair live a low-key life following the departure of Gunpala's partner. Struggling to make ends meat, our protagonist fixes shoes by the side of the road. His dedication to the profession is clear, but even his son fails to see the expert craft involved, constantly demanding a replacement pair for the tattered ones his mother gave him. Not wanting to let go of that tangible tie to his loved one, Gunpala does his best to keep his son well prepared for life whilst maintaining his connection to his partner.
There is a wonderful line delivered by Akila's teacher during Cobbler's Dream, that, to paraphrase, says that everything eventually gets replaced. This theme of wanting to discard "things" from our life simply because they appear broken or useless is wonderfully contrasted with the powerful themes of love and family. Akila's childish want of new shoes and lack of sentiment is the perfect juxtaposition for his father's almost crippling attachment. This blur of attitudes is also not settled in some revelatory manner, with one side realising the value in the other way of thinking, instead it remains a delicate quandary for the audience to mull over.
Gunpala's world is brought magnificently to life by DoP Buddika Mangala, with rich exterior sequences on the bustling streets, and warming scenes inside the family home. One particularly poignant moment sees the man stand on the train tracks whilst a train passes by full of passengers, highlighting the often brutal reality that life stops for no one. This is then enhanced by Manamudali's central performance, which is understated and mesmeric in its weariness.
Stories about characters attempting to move on from a difficult experience or time in their life are commonly compelling. Most likely because they act as a potentially dramatic setting whereby a rebirth or collapse are imminent. Filmmaker Chandrasekara uses this brilliantly in Cobbler's Dream to deliver a short film that is achingly tragic and utterly beautiful at the same time.
Watch the official teaser trailer for Cobbler's Dream below...