Return to Burma Trailer (2011)

Independent fiction films shot in Burma are rare indeed. One filmed by a Chinese-Burmese minority director like Midi Z are unprecedented.

Xing-hong is a Burmese labourer of Chinese ethnicity who has worked on construction in Taipei for 10 years. Changes in Burma (aka Myanmar) prompt him to return with the ashes of his friend and coworker Rong, who died in Taipei. Back in his home village of Lashio, Xing-hong feels like a stranger in a foreign land. Family, friends and neighbours earn next to nothing. Everyone yearns to save enough money to illegally work abroad: Malaysia, Dubai or China are aspirational destinations. As he travels around his ethnic Chinese district, regaled by uniquely Burmese pop songs (lauding, for example, the government and congressmen for fostering Burma's push towards “democracy and freedom”) Xing-hong explores work options, asking everyone he meets how little they make. The best prospects, other than going back to work abroad, seem to be the thriving black markets for openly smuggled Chinese goods he finds everywhere.

First time director Midi Z films the milieu he knows best: like his protagonist, he is an ethnic Chinese who moved from Burma to Taiwan when he was young. His fiction film, while preserving an ultra-realistic documentary feel, is also inspired by classic Taiwanese new wave principles: he uses a largely still camera, with beautifully framed long takes and sequence shots that slowly reveal, with precise intensity, the essential reality of a part of rural Burma at a critical moment of its history.

1 min 36 sec


Posted On
November 09, 2011
Midi Z

Midi Z


October 7, 2011
Wang Shin-hong
Yang Shu-lan
Chou Jung-kuo
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