Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Film on the Life of Burmese Activist Aung San Suu Kyi Opens This Week in Los Angeles

by Gregg Chadwick

The Lady, a new film by director Luc Besson inspired by the life of Burma's courageous Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband Michael Aris, opens for a limited release this week at Laemmle's Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills. This engagement will run from December 2 - December 8, 2011.

The film stars Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi and David Thewlis as her husband Michael Aris.

The Los Angeles Times explains that the film is "a timely political drama" about the volatile political events in Burma as well as "a love story about the uncommon bond that existed between Suu Kyi and her late husband, Michael Aris ... an Oxford University scholar and Asian specialist, Aris took charge of raising the couple's two sons in England while his wife was held captive in her homeland, and he worked tirelessly to raise Western awareness of his wife's fight for democracy."

The Lady was shot mainly in Thailand using Burmese refugees as extras. In a further bid for artistic authenticity, director Luc Beeson used footage furtively shot in Burma and then bravely smuggled out. Some of this footage was shot by Besson himself. He explained to the French media that,"I filmed 17 hours of rushes, sometimes with a soldier three meters away." The film's actors were then integrated into the Burmese scenes with the use of Chroma Key or Green Screen technology.

Photo: Cast members Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis at the premiere of "The Lady" at the AFI film festival. Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

For The Lady, Shepard Fairy was asked to repurpose his benefit poster Freedom to Lead which portrays Aung San Suu Kyi. In the film poster actress Michelle Yeoh portrays the Burmese activist.

Shepard Fairey
Freedom to Lead
(Portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi)

”In a world in which we all too often focus on differences, Aung San Suu Kyi is a unifying figure that people of all political persuasions can work to support. Shepard’s image encapsulates that very point beautifully. The Burmese people have appealed for our help – let’s give it to them.”
 - Jeremy Woodrum, director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma

More at:

U.S. Campaign for Burma

Road to Mandalay
Gregg Chadwick
Road to Mandalay
40"x30" oil on linen 2011

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