John Billeter, known as JB, an internationally renowned expert in Oriental civilizations, has agreed to return to Sri Lanka at the request of the UNESCO to decode a book of crystal, a treatise on memory that Buddha dictated in his old age. The book has been discovered near the Tamil-dominated part of the island and it lays down a challenge for JB whose past is overshadowed by his wife's suicide. He met her in Sri Lanka, where they fell in love before the tragedy occurred. He meets several remarkable characters on the war-torn island...
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"A European specialist in religious texts is summoned to Sri Lanka to decode a sacred text dealing with memory while he turns to alcohol to forget. He decodes his own past in it, encounters different char-acters and, thus, fulfils his destiny. On the way...
A film with characters from East and West confronted with very concrete problems (personal and political conflict; attachment and mourning; interventionist or passive attitudes), but also confronted with the inexorable cycle of life and death. A film on the strata of memory.
Personal memory: the life of individuals with their past, their loves, their acquisitions. And collective memory: culture, religion, ethnic roots. A film on the relativity of things: "Whatever happens, nothing happens". That is one of the adages of this story... But it is also a film with palm trees, umbrellas, women in red, yellow and blue, aspirin, music, bedrooms, dancers, flowers, ice-cubes and many birds."