Screening Room: THE LADY

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(KTSF by Sean Au)

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is not just the inspiration of the Burmese people. Even U.S. President Barack Obama counts her as one of his inspirations. She is, without a doubt, one of the most respected Asian leaders since Ghandi.

To understand the revered status of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), you have to know what she has gone through. Her father, General Aung San is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Burma, credited with winning the country’s independence. General Aung San was however assassinated in 1947, when Suu Kyi was still a toddler.

Aung San Suu Kyi subsequently settled in Oxford, England, and has two sons with Michael Aris, a scholar. In 1988, she returned to Yangon (formerly named Rangoon) to take care of her ailing mother. She arrived to witness how the Burmese people were suffering under the military junta. Local democracy activists wanted her to lead them in their fight. That, she obliged, but that also trapped her in the country through house arrest placed upon her by the military.

When her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and subsequently dying from it, Aung San Suu Kyi was also not able to visit her dying husband or attend his funeral as she feared not being allowed back into the country again. Yet, she is best known for leading the democracy movement with an insistence on non-violence. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

After more than half a century of military rule, there are signs that the military government is finally commited to democracy reform. Just two weeks ago, Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to participate in a by-election that led to her winning a seat in the parliament.

THE LADY feels like an ode by French master director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element). Scenes were authentically created, though you can almost feel a certain restraint Besson had to work with, due to the low key sequences of the biopic.

Playing the revered leader is the meatiest role Michelle Yeoh has played in a movie. Yeoh successfully captured the essence of Aung San Suu Kyi, her elegance and her calm; and considering this is one rare western movie that has an Asian character at its core, THE LADY should not be missed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Cohen Media.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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