The military coup in Myanmar has disrupted many pillars of selfhood for Burmese people. Yet in between the fragments of crisis, new experiences and identities can be formed.
Who are we to our families, communities, and to ourselves? Who are we without the places and people that once defined our lives? Through delicate and difficult journeys of self-reflection, these films are connected by their testament to the intersectional ways that Burmese people navigate identity, home, family and grief. To complement the films, we will host a poetry reading contemplating the fragments of one’s identity, and a live conversation between the poets and filmmakers contributing their perspectives to the questions raised in the programme.
Together, the films and conversations in this programme seek to explore the spaces in between and the dilemma of not quite being just one thing.
— ပုလဲ Pearl Fedele, programme curator
Tickets for this programme are free, but we invite and encourage donations, which will go to Salween (သံလွင်), a non-profit fundraising group that supports participants of the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar, as well as refugees and internally displaced persons. You can find out more about their work and donate here.
This event is available worldwide. The film programme will be available to watch from 13-26 February, with the poetry readings available from 15 February and the roundtable discussion available from 6pm on 22 February.
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သူစိမ်းသုံးယောက် Three Strangers
(2021, dir. လမင်းဦး Lamin Oo)
On the western coastline of Myanmar, a queer couple and their adopted son build an unlikely family and navigate the complexities of belonging. Gwa To, a charismatic transgender man and Ma Soe, his reserved but straight-forward wife share their unconventional love story and the hurdles in creating their family. A touching and boundary pushing story of negotiating one’s identity amidst societal reproval, multi-generations of parental sacrifices, and finding home in the people you love.
This Kind of Love
(2015, dir. Jeanne Hallacy)
After 24 years in exile, Burmese human rights and LGBT activist, Aung Myo Min returns home to Myanmar. Despite recalling his difficult youth during military dictatorship and the sacrifices made by him and his family, Myo’s longing for home and eagerness to rejoin his country is a testament to the power of one’s sense of identity and belonging. Showing an insight into the lives of LGBT individuals in Myanmar and set against the country’s historical transition from half a century of brutal military rule, Myo shares his vision for equality for all – from children to transgender people to ethnic nationalities with his countrymen, to be part of his homeland’s emergence from the darkness of dictatorship.
တောင်ကျချင်း Underneath My Chin
(2020, dir. ဆောလ်ချမ်းထူးဆံ Saul Chan Htoo Sang)
While studying abroad, a Chin student attempts to make a documentary about the Chin refugee community in the Czech Republic. In the process, he ends up wrapped up in questions of his own ethnic identity and faces the disparities of how he is perceived by those around him. An introspective examination of how we define who we are, if we can at all.
မြစ်ဘယ်မှာဆုံး Where The River Ends
(2023, dir. ထက်အောင်လွင် Htet Aung Lwyn)
A soldier carries his lover’s body through a journey of self-reflection as he experiences the consequences of loss on one’s sense of self. With dream-like sequences and musings, this visual poem explores grief and loss through two thematically intertwined journeys, expressing the unspoken heaviness that never seems to lessen and the grief that never seems to subside.
Available from Wednesday 15 February
Three distinct diasporic poets contemplate the fragments of their identities, the weight of memories, and individual interpretations of grief. A collection of poems about longing, searching, and redefining ‘home’.
Read written versions here:
Available from 6pm, Wednesday 22 February
Pondering on the effects of conflict on one’s sense of self and finding solidarity through this experience, this season’s poets and filmmakers discuss their work in relation to the theme of identity and belonging, and contribute their perspectives to the questions raised in the programme.
ပုလဲ Pearl Fedele is a Burmese poet and emerging film programmer based in London. Born in Yangon and raised between Asia, Africa and Latin America, she is captivated by stories that attempt to untangle the complexities of identity and belonging. She has worked in film festivals across London and has a masters in Global Media from SOAS. With a desire to expand her sense of belonging as well as facilitate storytelling, Pearl is committed to highlighting queer stories and Burmese voices through film and poetry.
All the films are available with English subtitles and English descriptive subtitles. The recorded poetry readings and roundtable discussion will be available with English descriptive subtitles.
If you have any queries regarding the accessibility of this event please email us: email@example.com
A programme of contemporary cinema from Myanmar focusing on the search for self and new ways of belonging
13 – 26 February 2023