MYANMAR DIARIESDirected by Myanmar Film Collective
Amnesty International Film Prize, 2022 Berlin International Film Festival
In February of 2021, a woman livestreams herself teaching an aerobic class in public, at the same spot where she has done so for months in the capital of Myanmar. She is seemingly unaware of what is taking place behind her, as black military vehicles rush in to overthrow the country’s civilian government. The viral video, which opens MYANMAR DIARIES, reflects the democratization of information made possible through the symbiosis of the camera and the internet: a tool of audiovisual capture and a mode of distribution. The camera, social media, and the everyday people who wield them continue to make clear that the act of documentation is a powerful form of resistance. From Hong Kong to Myanmar, the devices we carry in our hands can themselves carry evidence of the grandest of historical moments.
Such ideas are at the center of what the anonymous filmmakers of the Myanmar Film Collective seek to explore in MYANMAR DIARIES, but its heart and focus lies with the people and their continued resistance against the new, brutal military dictatorship. The film extends this focus beyond a simple compilation of vérité protest footage, attempting to fill in the gaps of what is not seen in the streets. Woven into the film are fictional enactments of everyday life under siege, with characters whose relationships, hopes, and desires continue amidst and around the unrest. A father wrestles with joining the resistance movement due to the threat of losing his government housing; a young woman struggles to tell her revolutionary boyfriend that she is pregnant. MYANMAR DIARIES is more than a compilation of unrest, but an impassioned, visceral chorus molding the medium for the world to see.