Not quite six months in, this has been a pretty strong year for releases. Seen some fantastic stuff, not all of which I’ve been able to cover on MMP. (If they come your way, be sure to check out SUMMER HOURS, a smart, subtly turned French film, and BIG MAN JAPAN, a delirious, kick-ass send-up of Japanese kaiju.)
But to date, none of the documentaries I’ve seen have quite blown me away like BURMA VJ: REPORTING FROM A CLOSED COUNTRY. It’s a combination of factors, here — the idea of the video journalists who work for the Democratic Voice of Burma, under constant threat of torture and lifetime imprisonment; the prime focus of the film on the Saffron Revolution, an uprising of Buddhist monks that crystalized into large-scale protests and resulted in a shockingly brutal response from the military junta; and director Anders Ostergaard’s way of mixing documentary footage smuggled out of the country with reenactments of events that happened outside the country — that makes the film such a compelling revelation of the struggle to disseminate truth in the face of repression.
The film has the backing of HBO, and so should be showing up on the network at some point. It’s well worth keeping an eye out for. In the meantime, here’s my interview with Ostergaard and Democratic Voice of Burma’s deputy director, Khin Maung Win.
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Another Instance of the Camera Wielded for Social Good