On Location At The Athena Film Festival: “The Lady” Who’s Saving Burma
12:41 pm, February 14th | by Rebecca Srulowitz
Just the other day, The Jane Dough had the privilege of attending the Athena Film Festival, a festival dedicated to “illuminating the stories of women from across the globe who have made a difference in their countries and communities.”
And boy, did they live up to their mission statement.
The film we saw, The Lady, centers on Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s most widely known opposition leader and a Nobel peace laureate who tirelessly fought against the deep injustices her country was perpetrating, and was sentenced to house arrest for over 15 years. Burma has been one of the most oppressive, brutal regimes in the world, and Suu, as she’s affectionately called in the film, has been petitioning for non-violent democratic change since the 1980s, making her one of the most inspirational leaders of our time.
Luc Besson, who directed the film and is best known for his rowdy, high-octane action flicks such as From Paris With Love and Columbiana, does a surprisingly brilliant job depicting the emotions– both high and low– of a woman who believes so strongly in the responsibility she has to her country that she must choose wether it is more important than the responsibility she has to her family. It is a gut-wrenching film, one that’s certainly not easy to watch, but is so strikingly important nonetheless.
The Lady, arriving in U.S. theaters February 17, is coming at a key moment in Burma’s political history. The Burmese government is poised to make sweeping changes, which prompted the U.S. to send its first envoy to the country in over half a century this past December.
Here are some viewing delights to get you excited about seeing what will, with any luck, become one of the most popular, thought-provoking films of the year.
The Director, Luc Besson, discussing how he filmed in a country with impossibly strict censorship laws, the integrity of Burmese traditions as depicted in the movie, and how no love will ever match that of Suu and her husband:
And finally, the real-life heroine, with Hillary Clinton. The emotions felt by Clinton are palpable: