Burma Vj: Reporting From A Closed Country

Military regimes oppose reality. But at the same time they create reality. Undiluted human reality in its purest form. At one point in Burma VJ we hear the words, “Our country is different from the rest of the world.” This both articulates a truth and refutes itself. The statement stands as the common slogan of all repressed communities. If you look at the facial expressions of people defying the regime in street protests, you’ll come across deep shades of the past, of Spain’s past, Argentina’s past, Chile’s past, Poland’s and your own past. These shades imply an unholy mix of fear and terror along with a sense of pride and liberty. A suffocating regime intimidates its people, turns them into cowards and makes them feel isolated. But at the same time, that same regime fosters a sense of pride and dignity, makes heroes of the people and kindles solidarity. And there you have it: the key player of street protests, as they unfold in the shadow of guns, is this very reality. Burma VJ is without doubt a deeply real film; but not because of its documentary content. No documentary could express that moment split seconds before the trigger is pulled. Because that moment is made by blending documentary and fiction in the melting pot of reality to produce a single human situation. In this sense, Burma VJ can be watched not only for the realities of the 2007 uprising, but for all of Burma’s past realities which follow the same archetype, indeed for all other similar realities. The defiance of the Buddhist monks who daub the streets orange also speaks of the Burma ruled as a British colony; likewise the Burma subject to a military coup in 1962, and the 2007 protests. Wherever they are in the world, all military regimes are alike. Burma VJ tells of the camera taken hostage by guns, and the guns deciphered by the camera. You remember the happenings from somewhere. Our own country is no different from the rest of the world… Halil Nalçaoğlu


Anders Østergaard
Jan Krogsgaard

Simon Plum
The Burmese VJs

Janus Billeskov-Jansen
Thomas Papapetros

Lise-Lense Møller

Conny Malmqvist

Best Documentary Robert Festival
Best Documentry Bodil Awards
Documentary Editing Award Sundance
Joris Ivens Award
Movies That Matter Award IDFA

15th Festival on Wheels