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Arresting, New Docu film on Aung Sang Suu Kyi, 'LADY OF NO FEAR'


Even as one waits eagerly for French director Luc Besson's fictional film on Burmese freedom fighter Aung Sang Suu Kyi,'The Lady', with Maggie Cheung playing the lead,  a new, real-life docu film on Burma's most famous political leader 'Lady of No Fear' has won applause at many Human Rights Festivals, and will now do the rounds of many  international film festivals around the world .

 Infact, it's told that Luc  Besson studied this  docu at length, before he began his feature film.

The film is unique,because it offers, for  the first time, a glimpse into the personal life of Asia's most talked-about political personality. It's important ,because Aung Sang Suu Kyi has always been fiercely reclusive about her private life. 

Danish director Anne Gyrithe Bonne spent more than 3 years,reseaching for the film ,in many cities around the world,including London,Oxford, New York,Washington, Bangkok,Rangoon.

 It took her a long time to win the confidence of Suu Kyi's husband's family,in particular his twin brother Anthony, wife Lucinda, foster-parents Lord and Lady Gore Booth, and many others.

 But after that, she collected together amazing archival footage of Suu Kyi's academic husband Dr Michael Aris- and this forms the crux of the film.

It's in this film that one becomes aware, for the first time, of Aris' single-minded commitment as a father and husband. Apart from being a devoted single-parent to his two sons, he passionately kept alive his wife's political cause, in the Western world. He did this in numerous ways, most so, during the speeches he made,  when he accepted top prizes on his wife's behalf, including the Noble Peace Prize,Sakhraov Prize etc.

The film 'plays back' all these  rivetting speeches. They  become  even more important, when Aris suddenly gets diagnosed for cancer, does not manage to see his wife, and  passes away. 

The most moving speech in the film, is the one made at his funeral, by his son,Alexander.

 The original film ended with this speech, leaving very few audiences, dry-eyed.  But soon after  the film was completed, and even screened at important  festivals like the Berlin Peace Foundation festival) Aung Sang Suu Kyi was unexpectedly released from her 14 years of house-imprisonment.

So, the director changed the ending of the film, incorporating a vibrant speech by the newly-freed Burmese leader to a joyous crowd, and ending the film on a positive note.

 Interestingly enough, the Director has not met the Burmese leader as yet. Nor has the latter commented on the movie, although she has been presented with the film by her husband's family.

While Director Annie Gyrithe Boon and Producer Helle Ulsteen are keen to meet the Burmese leader at some point in the future,  for the moment ,they are delighted by the avid response to the film, around the world.

 'Lady of No fear' is expected to be screened at many festivals  in Asia and Europe, this year.

There will be special screenings in cities like Bangkok, where Aung Sang Suu Kyi is hugely popular. These include screenings at important places like  the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT), and the Bangkok Arts & Cultural Centre (BACC).

The highlight of the screenings will be the presence of Director Anne Gyrthe Bonne, who is flying down specially for the screenings, and will talk at length about the making of this unique and important  docu-film.

















I'm an Indian film-writer, based in Bangkok, and write for publications in India & Thailand. I also coordinate and curate film programs in the two countries, at cultural centres/clubs, film festivals.



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