A rare glimpse behind the scenes in Burma—or Myanmar, as the ruling military junta renamed it in 1989—one of the most isolated countries in the world. Writer and filmmaker Robert H. Lieberman secretly filmed the everyday lives of ordinary citizens over a period of two years—lives defined by food shortages, power cuts, and a lack of health care and education. This land of countless golden pagodas that not so long ago was renowned as the “rice bowl of Asia” is now a place of terrible poverty, which has led to widespread child labor and trafficking. In a remarkable interview, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks about the recent history of Burma and her many years under house arrest for her political activities. Anonymous commentators talk about the character of this regime, which has absolutely no communication with its population, but uses physical repression to hold the country in its iron grip. We also see how Buddhism has influenced the way in which the Burmese deal with the difficult living conditions. This film is a portrait of a land where beauty and decay, and fear and courage, closely coexist.
New York Times Critics' Pick: “Eye-opening and insightful.”