The Lady – September 13

Simply the best movie I have seen this week and maybe the best movie at the Festival and maybe the best movie of the year. I loved this film as you can see. It is a dramatization of the story of Burmese political activist and leader Aung San Suu Kyi over 15 years of her life struggling to bring democracy to Burma. It is also about her love for her English husband and children who support her throughout her isolation and house arrest in Burma. Separated for years from her family she hangs on to their love and her love of her country. It is brilliantly acted by Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis (who is also in Anonymous) both of whom deserve Oscars for their work. The director and writer did not know the woman whose story they were telling but they researched it thoroughly and clearly did a great job. They filmed it in Thailand primarily but many shots were from Burma where members of the crew travelled incognito as tourists and shot film with their Nikon cameras. They reconstructed the home in which she was under arrest off and on for nearly 15 years to perfection and filmed in the actual home the family shared in Oxford.

The director and writer were there for a Q and A and were congratulated by members of the audience who knew The Lady herself and remarked how perfectly Yeoh played her, how true to the story the film was and how evocative of the struggle and ongoing struggle to bring democracy to Burma. The plea of Aung San Suu Kyi at the end of the film is to the audience to use their liberty to bring the same to the people of Burma. The audience gave a rare standing ovation at the end of the film.

Yes we should work to free the people of Burma and encourage our government to lead this struggle but there is also a message to all the bored and jaded voters of our own country not to take their right to vote for granted and exercise it every chance they have. When one sees a film like this and watches the sacrifices people make to exercise the right to vote there is simply no excuse for any of us to remain unengaged in our own democracy.

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