Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Recently freed from half a century of military dictatorship and violence, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a country in transition. In this patient and beautiful documentary, the country’s past and present are explored through the eyes of Maung Aung Pwint, Burma’s most celebrated dissident poet and a man who has spent much of his adult life imprisoned for his activism.
When Czech filmmaker Petr Lom and partner Corrine Van Egeraat first encounter Maung Aung Pwint, now aging and suffering from Parkinson’s, he tells them: "Let’s make a long poem together." Living with his wife and awaiting a visit from his son, who was exiled to Finland 20 years ago, Aung Pwint revisits memories of a darker time through his verses. While his poetry is often humanistic and celebrates the simpler pleasures in life, it is also coloured by the deep pain and longing that he and his country have suffered. Lom’s lens captures scenes of festivities and modernity interspersed with more quiet and reflective moments of spiritual devotion, ultimately painting a portrait of a society tentatively reinventing itself. The film that emerges is a lovingly crafted and poetic homage both to the spirit and resiliency of the Burmese people and to poetry itself; verse is an art-form well-loved in a culture that has a long history of resistance and creativity.