Event Summary

The IAS Movie Showcase and Discussion: “The Woman from Myanmar,” hosted by IAS, was successfully held on 18th April in the Lecture Hall, Cultural Building. Mr. Xiuyue WANG, director of the film was invited to share the stories behind the screen, Professor Xingzhong YU, the director of IAS, Chair Professor of FLL served as the discussant; Dr. Qiqi HUANG, postdoctoral fellow of IAS, served as the moderator.

The movie “The Woman from Myanmar” is the winner of the award of Best Director at the Indian Film Festival 2022, the award of Best Documentary at the European Independent Film Festival, the Honorable Mention of Best Documentary at the Eastern European Independent Film Festival and many other awards. After the 1990s, foreign brides from Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and other Southeast Asian countries were brought or enticed to mainland China and treated as tools for bearing children. By coincidence, Xiuyue WANG met Larry, a foreign bride who married off to Shandong. Born in northern Myanmar, her aunt sold her to an older man to get money and improve her family’s financial situation, and in these more than 10 years of “marriage”, she gave birth to a pair of children. During this period, Larry escaped from home for once but was tricked into marrying again to another man. By the end of the documentary, Larry had to return to her hometown in Myanmar.

At the discussion, Professor Yu mentioned that this documentary captures the challenges of everyday life for ordinary families, showcasing how people’s aspirations evolve over time. When asked about the documentary’s underlying message, Mr. Wang revealed that he was initially captivated by Larry’s escape from home. However, it was upon Larry’s return that he recognized the importance of portraying the experiences of a woman as a foreign bride. Dr. Huang concurred, noting that creators often gain valuable insights in retrospect.

During the Q&A session, the audience displayed a strong interest in the difficulties of filming behind the scenes. Mr. Wang mentioned that he took a friendly approach, helping Hai Jiang find his wife, taking care of his children, and keeping lonely Larry company. He candidly discussed the challenges of dealing with poor material conditions, unfamiliar transportation, and the considerable psychological and social pressure he faced during filming. Dr. Huang concurred that this task was more demanding than conducting sociological fieldwork interviews.

At the event’s conclusion, a student asked a thoughtful question about how to approach the social issue highlighted by these incidents. Mr. Wang smiled warmly and shared his contentment in raising public awareness about the living conditions of a particular group by featuring an individual in the film, aiming to improve their lives.

The event drew nearly 100 teachers and students. The movie and discussion sparked lively debates and deep reflection among all attendees.

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