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Arts

Once-thriving Myanmar cinema readies for new wave

Independent filmmakers seek to challenge risk-averse industry

The first edition of a new Myanmar film magazine "3-Act," titled "Cinema is not dead, but not alive." (Courtesy of 3-Act)

YANGON -- Change is afoot in Myanmar's now moribund movie industry. Just over two decades ago, the country's current de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned by all-powerful military generals and Western sanctions made it nearly impossible to import film reels into the isolated and impoverished Southeast Asian country.

But in the cinematic heydays of the 1950s and 1960s, Myanmar citizens flocked to art deco-style single-screen theaters in the then-capital Yangon to see local productions from one of the region's most prolific film industries. Today, the only colonial-era cinema still standing on what was the city's "Cinema Row," Waziya, opens only occasionally for screenings. Power cuts and bats flying across the projector interrupt showings.

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