Myanmar Film Collective: Myanmar Diaries

From the website of the film (link below): A hybrid film about life under the regime of terror in Myanmar in the aftermath of its military coup of February 1st 2021, told through personal stories by a group of anonymous young Burmese filmmakers.The film is built up of short films by ten young anonymous Burmese filmmakers.

I don’t want to echo all the superlatives that have already been attached to this at the Berlinale awarded and praised film. I agree. I sit here with my MacBook after having watched the film twice and want to characterize ”Myanmar Diaries” as beautiful! Is that the right word to a film that has the goal to raise awareness about the horror regime and the courageous Civil Disobedience Movement, that wants to spread knowledge about the violence, the killings, the arrests in a dictatorship led by General Min Aung Hlaing.

Yes, it is beautiful even if I sit remembering scenes, where I was shouting to the computer images ”no, don’t do that”, when a soldier raises his club to beat a person, who is lying in the street, or when I with one in a room am looking at what happens on the other side of the street, where a person has been hit by a sniper. Or when a woman takes a razor blade to the artery of her hand. ”No, don’t do that!”.

The scoop of this film is that it – as a hybrid – mixes documentary and fiction so well, having a sequence – you could also say one of the 10 films – upfront with a beautiful female voice whispering that she wants to have a butterfly tattoo made, when ”all this is over” – words to that effect. When the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It’s a wish, a vision and a theme that visually comes back in the narrative, also as a small animation… and then later a cut to a street scene reality, where a grandmother talks in the street to the soldiers in their military cars. The editing of the film is like that: it goes from scenes that tell about nightmares, losses of a dear one to scenes like the one I still have in my ear, a kid constantly shouting to the soldiers ”don’t touch my mum”. The camera is directed to the entrance of the house,where a group of soldiers are about to enter to pick the mother up. The scene ends when a soldier discovers the filming.

A girl who lives with her mother discovers that she is pregnant. She wants to tell the boyfriend but he has also something to tell her. He wants to go to the jungle, join the guerilla, it’s too dangerous to stay in the city. She never gets to tell him, he goes, we see guerilla training, and armed young people walking in the mountains. “Do You Hear Us?”

Beautiful – as a statement, a cry for help and as a Film. Composition, framing, rythm, music, it’s all put so well together by filmmakers who hopefully survive to come back with Butterfly-Films. Watch the film, I am going to reveal the start of the film. Beautiful!

Production : ZINDOC. Creative producer Petr Lom, producer Corinne van Egeraat.

The Netherlands, Norway, 70 mi

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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