Friday, September 3, 2010

Burma VJ

In September of 2007, thousands of Burmese monks and students took to the streets of Rangoon to protest decades of brutality, ethnic cleansing, and overall unhappiness inflicted upon them by the ruling military junta, and to demand the release of democratically elected Prime Minister and Burmese heroine, Aung San Suu Kyi, who's been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years.  The police responded with gunfire, tear-gas and torture.  Hundreds of monks, perhaps the most peaceful beings on the planet, simply vanished, leaving only a trail of blood on the streets.

This collection of harrowing footage from the guerilla video journalists of the Democratic Voice of Burma, filmed with hidden hand-cams and cell-phones in the midst of flying bullets and exploding tear-gas cannisters, needs to be seen.  It fucking yearns JUST to be seen.  The brave men and women who risked their lives to acquire such footage and then smuggle it to news outlets outside of Burma realize the fact that most people don't know, understand or care enough about their plight to do anything of actual substance to help them.  They realize that most people who see or hear about Burma on the news don't give it a passing thought.  They realize that most likely this film is at best third place in the Best Documentary Oscar category; another tragic human-interest story for people to watch on HBO and then forget about.  They say as much in some of the special feature interviews on the DVD.  But none of that stops them from risking what little freedom they still have and their very lives, just by turning their cameras on.

Now to step off my soapbox for a second.  This isn't me just being pseudo-advocate here, this is how I really felt after watching this doc.  And this obviously isn't the best quality of film footage, but it's footage filmed in complete fear of being seen or caught with a camera.  So just the fact that it has surfaced at all is impressive beyond measure.

Rating: 5/5

1 comment:

  1. You know when monks are protesting, it's some serious shit. I will watch this weekend. It will break my heart but reaffirm my goals to start doing some real work to increase human security. Thanks, Scoot.