Burma VJ (2008)
Directed by Anders Østergaard
This 2008 documentary was put together by Anders Østergaard with footage smuggled from the closed nation of Burma. The documentary would go on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary. Most of the footage was taken by a group of Burmese underground journalists who are part of a renegade news network called the Democratic Voice of Burma.
This documentary takes a look at the history of the military regime in Burma and the failed uprising in 2007. The uprising was led by Buddhist monks and brave citizens in the major cities of Burma including Rangoon. Through the choppy footage the violence against the peaceful protests is well-documented. The footage also shows the aftermath of the retaliation against the monks. With the government of Burma condemning the footage as false, these reporters put their own lives at risk to share their story with the world. Eventually their footage ended up on major news networks around the world and captured the attention of the world leaders.
This is a powerful documentary. The footage is raw and often tough to watch. It mixes in footage from the failed 1988 uprising as well as the 2007 attempt. There are also revealing interviews with the people of Burma. The film also captures the fear instilled in the people by the government. Finally, the footage shows the unwarranted violence of the military of Burma against their own people.
This is much more than a political documentary. This is a film about the basic human rights being denied to people in the country of Burma. The film is sometimes choppy and hard to follow, but it makes some powerful statements with the candid footage. The movie also highlights some of the heroes of the Burmese people fighting for freedom.
The film isn’t without its faults. The film maker often used effects that seemed unnecessary to the movie. The movie is also visually distracting at times.
Despite the weaknesses of the movie, this is a great film to watch of you’re interested in the world around you. I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to know that’s going on in some of the militaristic countries around the world. This isn’t a movie for kids and it has some graphic footage throughout. I give this movie 3.8 out of 5 stars.
Running Time: 84 minutes