Burma Vj: Reporting from a Closed Country

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Overview

The Southeast Asian nation of Burma also known as Myanmar has been under the control of a military dictatorship since a coup toppled the elected prime minister in 1962. With Burma's press and mass media under the control of the military government, dissent has had little opportunity to take hold in the country, but that began to chance in 2007; a band of Buddhist monks stepped forward to lead a revolt against the state, and as news spread about their actions, as many as 100,000 people took part in protests ...
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Overview

The Southeast Asian nation of Burma also known as Myanmar has been under the control of a military dictatorship since a coup toppled the elected prime minister in 1962. With Burma's press and mass media under the control of the military government, dissent has had little opportunity to take hold in the country, but that began to chance in 2007; a band of Buddhist monks stepped forward to lead a revolt against the state, and as news spread about their actions, as many as 100,000 people took part in protests against the oppressive and violent leadership. The official state media ignored the uprising, but a new breed of reporters were at hand to cover the revolution -- the Democratic Voice of Burma, also known as the Burma VJs, a handful of young video journalists armed with hand-held digital video cameras. The Burma VJs filmed the protests as well as violent acts committed by police and military officials, and then smuggled the footage to colleagues in Thailand, who then passed their images on to news organizations the world over. Filmmaker Anders Østergaard offers a look at how new technology is pressed into the service of a people's revolution in Burma VJ, a documentary which tells the story of the Democratic Voice of Burma and their role in the battle for a free and democratic Burma. Burma VJ received its American premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
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Special Features

Audio commentary with Burma VJ director Anders Østergaard and film critic John Anderson; Fighting for Freedom: a video interview with exiled Burma JA "Joshua"; Burmese monks' stories from the uprisings televised by Democratic Voice of Burma; A video message from Richard Gere; Crossing Midnight: a riveting film about refugees on the Thai/Burma border
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
This absorbing documentary would have earned high praise under any circumstances, shot as it was at high risk, under what amounted to siege conditions -- but the May 2009 trial of Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who is part of the focus of the events depicted, makes it even more urgent as a viewing experience. In contrast to the often diffuse coverage that events in Burma have received on most network news services in America, this movie lays it on the line with laser-like precision and focus. There are a few incidental linking sequences that, of necessity, had to be re-created, but 98 percent of what we see and hear is vérité footage of a series of spontaneous uprisings against the ruling military government of Burma, with tens of thousands of civilians, gathering behind a protest by Buddhist monks, and the tragic consequences that followed as the military struck back. The material is raw and disturbing, and the bravery of the people shooting it unquestionable; at one point, we see on camera the execution of a Japanese journalist who was holding a camera during a protest. Even George W. Bush, whose administration was filled with people who saw no problem with preventative detention of demonstrators, was sufficiently appalled by the Burma ruling junta to denounce the government on camera. It's enough to make viewers feel guilty over relative obliviousness to this situation, which has prevailed for decades; much to the credit of the makers, it cannot make the ruling government in Burma happy to have it out there, which is the point from the get-go. The work is suspenseful and informative, and one comes away hoping that between those two attributes and the film's wide distribution, it is an endless source of trouble to the ruling junta.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/15/2010
  • UPC: 896602002128
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: Oscilloscope
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Time: 1:29:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 76,928

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Anders Høgsbro Østergaard Director, Screenwriter
Niels Arild Sound Mixer
Fredrik Gertten Producer
Martin Hennel Sound/Sound Designer
Janus Billeskov Jansen Editor
Jan Krogsgaard Screenwriter
Lise Lense-Moller Executive Producer, Producer
Conny Malmqvist Score Composer
Torstein Nyboe Producer
Thomas Papapetros Editor
Simon Plum Cinematographer
Helle Ulsteen Producer
Burma VJs Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country
1. Burma Is Still Here [1:19]
2. Ready for Change [4:58]
3. The Eyes and Ears [4:15]
4. Footage Around the World [6:51]
5. Exiled in Thailand [4:43]
6. "The Monks Are Joining!" [2:16]
7. Thousands More in the Streets [8:20]
8. Gathering for Aung San Suu Kyi [9:20]
9. Defiant Amidst the Danger [6:34]
10. Raid on the Monks [6:02]
11. Deadly Violence Erupts [7:51]
12. "I've Escaped Death Twice Today" [4:27]
13. Images of a Massacre [9:19]
14. The Aftermath [6:14]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country
   Play Film
   Chapters
   Set Up
      Audio Options
         Stereo
         Commentary With Anders Østergaard and Film Critic John Anderson
      English Subtitles: On/Off
   Extra Features
      Audio Commentary With Anders Østergaard and Film Critic John Anderson
      Fighting for Freedom: An Interview With Joshua
      Burmese Monks' Stories From the Uprisings
         Play All
         Protest Leaders in 2007
            U Gaw Si Ta
            U Aw Ba Tha
         Participants in 1998
            Ashin Cando Bhasacara
            Ashin Pyinnya Jota
      A Message From Richard Gere
      Crossing Midnight
         Play
   Oscilloscope Releases
      Gunnin' for That #1 Spot
      Flow
      Wendy and Lucy
      Treeless Mountain
      Scott Walker: 30 Century Man
      The Garden
      Burma VJ
      Unmistaken Child
      No Impact Man
      Terribly Happy
      The Messenger
      Beautiful Losers
      Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love
      The Maid
      Tell Them Anything You Want
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    When Religious Leaders Answer the Call

    Here are religious leaders who evidently care about their people. Rather than continue to stay out of politics, Buddhist monks and nuns suffer torture and even death to protest again the oppressive government. It's inspiring for even a Christian like myself. The film is all-around excellent. It's also incredibly emotionally stirring, so be prepared for a tear jerker. For an American unfamiliar with much of what goes on in Communist Myanmar, it was an eye-opener. One small but significant complaint: At times, the dramatizations take precedence, serving only to create extra suspense where none is really needed. Some of this reeltime could've been used instead to provide viewers with valuable background information about Burmese political history.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews