The Igilena Maluwo story (see out front page lead story) is in a nutshell a mirror to our times in which a certain lumpen section of the dilettante arts coterie, try to be the arbiters of what artistic expression entails.

The movie has been funded by foreign interests -- and of course it was screened by the French Embassy as part of the so called French Film Festival. But it has been directed by an 'artiste' who we hear professes penury, and therefore seeks a license for 'unrestricted storytelling.' (!)

During Europe's de-Nazification, anything that was derogatory of the armed forces that liberated Europe from the Nazis was not permitted, and that was by justiciable stricture for over a decade. Those who have promoted that kind of post war tradition are now in Sri Lanka today, promoting a film that seeks to totally humiliate the armed forces and portray our war winning troops as being debauched -- or aching to act out, and unable to keep their penises in their pants.

However, when the country's Public Performances Board (PPB) had granted a license for the screening of the film, the French too have limited liability in this. Our sources confirm that the PPB has granted such a license, apparently for a limited showing, we gather. The French, if they take up the position that a 'limited showing' is permissible even if the movie hurts the sensibilities of popular elements of the host country, could still as hosts, end up inviting say a ten thousand people for this 'limited engagement.'

That shows how insidiously damaging specious arguments can be about this sort of a thing. The fact is, the French embassy had control over those who entered the auditorium on the day Igilena Maaluwo was screened.

Despite this the fact remains that there were children among audience members, even though the sex act was depicted several times in the movie, in full -- to pornographic lengths. Is it prudery to say that children should have never have been allowed to watch this film, by an embassy that purports to uphold wholesome values, and the healthy upbringing of children?

As for the PPB, if the people there issued a certificate -- did they see the movie at all, or was it that they issued the certificate because they thought no harm will be done as 'an embassy' is seeking to screen the movie?!

The fact remains that there is no 'immunity' for embassies in matters of movie screenings. If that was so in any event the question of a PPB license does not arise. (French embassy authorities say that they had a license -- a legal certificate for the movie's screening. ) If embassies claim immunity in matters of culture and art, what next, the British embassy screening the Killing Fields 'documentary' saying that the PPB can do nothing about movies that are screened in embassy premises?

The fact is that there seems to be a major plot that is unraveling with regard to how Igilena Maluwo came to be screened. Part of that plotline has to do with the sociological underpinnings of lifestyles of those who think that they should be the arbiters of what's true art in the country.

In the main this lot of post modernist dilettantes or those who fancy themselves as such, feel that art can be separated from special responsibility, or background milieu. However, a deeper perusal of that seemingly noble position taken, reveals that this posture is but an excuse for people to rake in tons of money given by donors - - the usual foreign agents - - to destabilize post war, the Sri Lankan forces, and damage the image of the war winning army.

Parvenu film directors and upwardly mobile, previously socially marginalized 'artistes' are ideal prey for these purposes. Such people can be in the film world and in the regulatory establishment as well. The sad thing is that these dilettantes have sold country and soldier just so that they could satisfy foreign agents that could very possible line their pockets. It's not art -- its outrage.