The Jungle and the Sea

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War makes things of people. The Jungle and the Sea is about a family who refuse to become things while they are still alive.

When violence escalates between the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a Tamil mother vows to remain blindfolded until her family is together once again. Gowrie, Abi and Madhu search the jungles of northern Sri Lanka for estranged son Ahilan, while Siva and Lakshmi migrate to Australia for safety, awaiting their family’s reunion. Separated by the ravages of civil war but buoyed by humour, playfulness and love for each other, so goes the story of many a migrant family that has wound up in Australia.

Co-writers S. Shakthidharan and Eamon Flack continue their collaboration that began with Counting and Cracking, threading personal testimony from the Sri Lankan civil war with two ancient epics — the Mahabharatha and Sophocles’ Antigone. The war may have ended in 2009, but Tamil memory endures in The Jungle and the Sea, calling together lives that eternally revolve, intertwine and bear witness to each other.

Another achievement of sustained feeling and empathy, of insight into chaos, power and the human instinct for joy and survival. — The Guardian

Astonishing with the depth of emotion it elicits. A profoundly moving work. — Suzy Goes See

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

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