Letter From Urbino is a twenty-minute film about a Sri Lankan refugee working as an attendant at the National Gallery in London. Each day he gazes at the paintings there and watches the faces of the people who come and go through the rooms. Then one day he has the chance to visit Italy and view the frescos of Piero della Francesca. In a moment of blinding understanding he contrasts the love and care lavished upon these precious images with the wilful destruction of his own culture and the consequent fragmentation of his own life.
The film opens with his voice reading from a letter he is writing, explaining to an unknown woman the terrible things that a civil war does to a human being. He speaks of how memory is all that remains for the migrant in his restless travel across lands, not his own. His is the story of all those who, in the twenty-first century, are displaced and disenfranchised. For it is the individual who carries the memory of the humiliation of his whole people.
edited on Media 100 May 2012
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