Gamperaliya (film)

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Gamperaliya (Changement au Village) ගම්පෙරලිය
DVD cover of "Gamperaliya".jpg
DVD Cover
Directed byLester James Peries
Produced byAnton Wickremasinghe
Written byRegi Siriwardena
StarringHenry Jayasena
Punya Heendeniya
Wickrema Bogoda
Trilicia Gunawardene
Music byW.D. Amaradeva
CinematographyWilliam Blake
Edited bySumitra Gunawardana
Distributed byCinelanka Ltd.
Release date
  • 1963 (1963)
Running time
108 minutes
CountrySri Lanka

Gamperaliya is a 1963 Sri Lankan drama film directed by Dr. Lester James Peries screenplay, dialog and the script by Dr. Tissa Abeysekara; it was adapted from the novel Gamperaliya by Martin Wickramasinghe. The film was groundbreaking in Sinhala cinema shot entirely outside of a studio using one lamp and hand held lights for lighting.[1] The movie exemplifies Peries's use of family tensions to symbolize wider issues.[1]

The film was internationally acclaimed, receiving the Golden Peacock at the International Film Festival of India and the Golden Head of Palenque in Mexico.[2] The film won the Best Director and Best Film awards at the 1965 Sarasaviya Film Festival.[1] It was entered into the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival.[3] It was shown in Cannes Film festival in May 2008 under the French title Changement au village. Subsequently it went out on general release in French cinemas.


Piyal (Henry Jayasena) is a handsome young teacher who is hired to teach English to Nanda (Punya Heendeniya), a member of an eminent family. They fall in love, but can not elope because Piyal is of a lower class. Nanda's parents instead push her into a marriage with Jinadasa (Gamini Fonseka), who is of the same class as them. With economic downturn in Sri Lanka, both families lose their status and Jinadasa leaves to try to make a better life for himself; he never achieves his goal and dies penniless. Piyal and Nanda can now finally come together. They have changed; the earlier idyllic nature of their relationship is not recaptured.


Actor Role
Henry Jayasena Piyal
Punya Heendeniya Nanda
Wickrema Bogoda Tissa
Trilicia Gunawardene Anula
Gamini Fonseka Jinadasa
Shanthi Lekha Nanda's mother
David Dharmakeerthi Nanda's father
Tony Ranasinghe Baladasa
Anula Karunatilleke Laisa


Lester James Peries admired Martin Wickramsinghe's work and was inspired to attempt an adaption of Wickramasinghe's novel Gamperaliya into a movie in 1964.[1] Wickremasinghe was initially reluctant thinking it wouldn't make a good movie, but eventually agreed.[1] Scholar Regie Siriwardene was asked to script the film.[4]


Playwright Ediriweera Sarachchandra championed the film writing "At last a Sinhalese film has been made which we could show the world without having to hide our heads in shame. I want to say a great film has been made of a great novel." British director Lindsay Anderson hailed "its elegiac, near-Chekhovian grace."[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Filmography- 1960-1980". Lester James Peries. 2004. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
  2. ^ "Untitled". National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
  3. ^ "3rd Moscow International Film Festival (1963)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  4. ^ "Bogoda achieved a rare feat". Sunday Times. 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
  5. ^ "A Personal Cinema. An Interview with Lester James Peries". TDR. MIT Press. 15: 303–309. 1971.

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