CINEQUEST 2012 – Opening Night at California Theater in San Jose “The Lady ” reported by Film Editor Lidia Thompson
OPENING NIGHT, February 28, 2012 at California Theater in San Jose
The Lady – Director: Luc Besson; Producers: Luc Besson, Virginie Silla, Andy Harries, Jean Todt; Writer: Rebecca Frayn; Cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast; Editor: Julien Rey; Music: Eric Serra; Cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis; Countries: France, United Kingdom; Language: English; Genre: Drama
There couldn’t have been a more timely release for this movie which was shown on Opening Night at Cinequest 2012. (It opens in a limited run engagement next month in the US) The Lady, is based on the true story of Aung San Sun Kyi, an activist from Burma, who eventually became a Nobel Prize Winner for Peace. Today, the iconic 66 year old woman is running for her second election, the second time from the moment when she was elected in 1990 and then trapped in home arrest for over 15 years.
The story began in 1947 when General Aung San, a hero to the people in Burma and a father of little Sun Kyi, was assassinated by the new regime. Twenty five years later, Sun Kyi (Michelle Yeoh) is now living in London and is happily married to Michael Aris (Daniel Thewlis), who is a British professor at Oxford University, who are raising their two sons – Alex and Kim. One day she is called to go back to Rangoon, the capital of Burma, to care of her ailing mother who suffered a stroke. She told her family that she will be returning in a week or two.
However, her fate was to stay in Burma for much, much longer than she anticipated. Horrified by the violence in her native country, she was approached by academics who asked her to stay on the front of the democratic movement, Aung San Sun Kyi found her inner strength, becoming an icon of the Burmese revolution. Even after she won the election in 1987, she was forced to stay under house arrest. Even the military regime did not want to murder her like many others (they believed that spirit can be bigger after death) and she resisted to leave the country. She paid a high cost for that. She was far from her husband and sons who were able to visit her only twice in over 15 years. She suffered quietly far from her husband who was dying of cancer.
The accomplished French director, Luc Besson (“The Professional”, “La Femme Nikita”, “The Fifth Element”), focuses more on the personal costs of Sun Kyi; her choice – the country over her family. Besson’s vision, beautifully captures Kyi and Aris’s portrayed love and carrying relationship between husband and wife (great acting of Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis), making a strong and lasting impression on the audience, bringing unforgettable memories, even after the ending credits roll.
The movie end but the life continues the story… Today Aung San Sun Kyi is running for election again.
Below the rest of her story…
Suu Kyi tells Myanmar rally she is back to health, AFP, Sunday, Mar 04, 2012
SAGAING, Myanmar – Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi insisted she was back to health on Sunday as she pressed on with her election campaign despite falling ill during a huge rally a day earlier.
A tired-looking Suu Kyi was hailed by crowds of well-wishers shouting “May Daw (Aunty) Suu be in good health!”, as she toured the region around the second biggest city Mandalay on her second day in the area.
“I did not feel well yesterday but because of the people’s kindness I feel better today. I am well now,” she told tens of thousands of people who had gathered to hear her speak in Sagaing city, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) from Mandalay.
On Saturday the 66-year-old, who is travelling with two personal doctors, was forced to take a break during her speech to more than 100,000 people – the largest crowd of her election campaign so far.
Sources from her party said she had vomited several times before returning to the stage.
Suu Kyi, whose decision to run for parliament in April 1 by-elections is seen as the clearest sign yet of reform in Myanmar, used the incident as an opportunity to discuss the policies of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
“We would like to give a better healthcare system to the people,” she said of the country’s chronically under-invested health service.
The international icon has had a punishing travel schedule ahead of the by-elections and her campaign has already taken her across the country, even though she is running for a seat in a constituency near her hometown of Yangon.
Last week she hit the campaign trail in the northernmost state of Kachin, where she appealed for unity among the country’s disparate ethnic groups and called for an immediate end to conflict between the regime and Kachin rebels.
Suu Kyi’s NLD won a landslide victory in an election in 1990 while she was under house arrest, but the ruling junta never accepted the result and she spent much of the next two decades in detention.
Myanmar’s new army-backed government has embarked on a series of dramatic changes since it replaced decades of outright military rule last year, including freeing political prisoners and trying to strike ceasefire deals with ethnic rebels.
The April vote is seen as a key test of the reforms by observers after a 2010 election was marred by widespread complaints of cheating and by the absence of Suu Kyi.
But the opposition cannot threaten the ruling party’s majority, even if it takes all 48 seats up for grabs.