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Myanmar documentary brings country's angst and courage to big screens

Award-winning film highlights risks in life under military regime

A still from "Myanmar Diaries." To make the documentary, an anonymous group of filmmakers called the Myanmar Film Collective collected raw footage that had been filmed by citizens on the streets and combined it with reconstructions of events experienced by members of the collective or their family and friends. (All photos courtesy of the Myanmar Film Collective)

HONG KONG -- A child cries out as military police arrive to take away his mother; a body lies prone on the pavement after being savagely beaten; a middle-aged woman berates a truck full of young paramilitaries, telling them her son is their age and they should know better. These are some of the distressing and at times macabre scenes from a documentary made in Myanmar at great risk by an anonymous group of filmmakers, calling themselves the Myanmar Film Collective (MFC).

Described as an act of "creative resistance," "Myanmar Diaries" recently had its world premiere at Berlin Film Festival, where it won the award for best documentary, an audience award and the Amnesty International Film Award, presented to films focusing on human rights. The screening took place just over one year after Myanmar's decadelong experience of democracy came to a brutal end with the military takeover of Feb. 1, 2021.

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