We’re watching about sixteen films today, so I’m going to give split-second summaries and reflections for most of these films.    
New Life, dir M.F.C.
A five-minute documentary: we meet Maung, a man who moved into the city to become a novice monk, but dropped out because he couldn’t pass the scripture-memorising exams. Now he works as a video editor. (No delight at having realized his true dreams; more matter-of-face first-person reportage.)    

Scrap, dir Maung Maung Thya Mint
The only fiction film in this installment. A guy dying of hunger, thirst, and lack of cigarettes, lies on an apartment floor, waiting for a phone call from a guy who’s promised him money. Nice change of pace: bluesy, mysterious.

Butchery Day – damn, didn’t get the director’s name here.
Experimental collage of scenes and sounds from a butcher shop. I think this was supposed to impress us with the brutality of human existence, but those ribs looked yummy. Transcendent intentions marred a little by the postscript in English: “You can’t be more horrable than life itself! We are running through the butchery social sphere.”    

Cat Lady, dir Jenny Zhang
Awww. An old woman who feeds stray cats and dogs – even though she’s clearly poor herself, living barefoot in the street, using her bare hands to splatter fistfuls of mixed beans and rice on the pavement for her furry friends.    

uninterruptedness, dir Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi
More video art than narrative film – the director’s just angling and twirling his/her camera in front of a computer screen full of poetic sentences in Burmese about death. TT said he liked it. Hmph.

The Dream, dir Khin Myanmar
Interesting stuff: a profile of a Kachin man (or Kayin? or Karen?) who runs a Christian orphanage. Strict disciplinarian, married his wife because “she works like a horse”, has trouble with minority tribe Kachin kids because of their cultural differences i.e. they don’t look you in the eye when they speak to you… a real sweetheart.

Sweetie-Pie, dir. Sai Kong Kham
This one won the top documentary prize in 2011, and it mos def deserved to! A simple portrait of a crotchety old man who baby grandson is climbing all over him – he calls him motherfucker and sonofabitch (those were the surtitles, but they’ve assured me the Burmese terms he used are just as rude) but just plainly, plainly loves the kid. Heartwarming and gutbustingly funny.

Thaiddhi later explained something in a Q&A session that unified a lot of these films thematically. It’s still sensitive to talk about poverty in Myanmar: these films therefore use it as a backdrop for human stories, rather than focusing on the theme of poverty itself.


10/20/2013 04:33

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