Culture

Films From the World Over, Past and Present to Screen at Myanmar’s MEMORY! Film Festival

By Lwin Mar Htun 8 November 2019

The seventh edition of the MEMORY! film festival will bring together a diverse selection of extraordinary films from all over the world from the past and present under its main theme, “Life Together”, during its 10-day run from Nov. 15-24.

The MEMORY! Festival is organized by the Ministry of Information of Myanmar, in partnership with the Yangon City Development Committee, the Yangon regional government and the Myanmar Motion Picture Organization with the support of the Embassy of France in Myanmar, Institut français Birmanie and Institut français Paris, the Embassy of Switzerland, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the European Union Delegation in Myanmar. Additional support is provided by the US and Australian embassies.

Murals by YGNWALLS artists depicting famous Myanmar actors and actresses from the golden age of Burmese cinema adorn the walls of an alley in Yangon. The lane will host street projections and an art exhibit as part of the MEMORY! Film Festival. / Supplied

The festival will feature more than 60 films, including heritage and contemporary works from all over the world. The festival will open with “La Cérémonie”, which earned French actress Isabelle Huppert the prestigious César for best actress in 1996.

Huppert will be visiting Myanmar for the very first time to attend the festival along with a number of local celebrities at the opening night at the Waziya Cinema on Nov. 15.

Murals by YGNWALLS artists depicting famous Myanmar actors and actresses from the golden age of Burmese cinema adorn the walls of an alley in Yangon. The lane will host street projections and an art exhibit as part of the MEMORY! Film Festival. / Supplied

The festival team hopes that new generations of filmmakers will draw inspiration from the films shown under the “Life Together” theme.

“MEMORY! is an experience for all, highlighting treasures from the past and today, from all continents. It is unique in Asia and makes Yangon join the very few countries hosting such cultural events,” said Séverine Wemaere, co-founder of the festival.

This year, the festival will showcase a newly restored version of a Myanmar classic, “Mhone Shwe Yi”. The restored film will be handed over to the Ministry of Information for the National Film Archive as a gift from France, Italy and Germany, who contributed to the restoration.

In previous years, the festival has screened other newly restored films including “Mya Ga Naing” (1934) in 2016 and “Pyo Chit Lin” (1950) in 2017.

Murals by YGNWALLS artists depicting famous Myanmar actors and actresses from the golden age of Burmese cinema adorn the walls of an alley in Yangon. The lane will host street projections and an art exhibit as part of the MEMORY! Film Festival. / Supplied

Australia will hand over a trove of film footage from 1905 to the Myanmar Film Archive to mark the approaching 100th anniversary of cinema in Myanmar.

“The Embassy of France and the French Cultural Institute in Yangon are very proud to support the Memory Film Festival, contributing to opening minds, fostering Myanmar talent and paying tribute to Myanmar’s rich film history. To share culture and values, promote exchanges for artists and people are the top priorities of our cultural diplomacy,” said Cyprien François, counselor for cooperation and culture at the French Embassy.

In keeping with the festival’s tradition, this year it will pay tribute to some of the most remarkable people in film history. The Myanmar film magazine 3-ACT will join the festival as special guest with its great selection for 2019, which is presented by local two filmmakers, Moe Myat May Zarchi and Aung Phyoe.

Murals by YGNWALLS artists depicting famous Myanmar actors and actresses from the golden age of Burmese cinema adorn the walls of an alley in Yangon. The lane will host street projections and an art exhibit as part of the MEMORY! Film Festival. / Supplied

This year’s Memory! Film festival will be held at three different venues: the old Waziya Cinema, the city’s crowded Mahabandoola Park and—uniquely—in a Yangon lane, where visitors can see street projections and an exhibition of street art.

YGNWALLS artists’ created a number of murals on the walls depicting scenes from three Burmese classics from the golden age of Burmese cinema.

In the park, the public will be able to enjoy screenings of great classic films and music with composer Itö and video artist Alexandre Elkouby.

“This is a good chance for all those moviegoers and filmmakers to catch up on good oldies films from different countries all over the world. I will be there for all 10 days,” said Daw Swe Zin Htike, a former actress who has been a producer and patron of the MEMORY! Film Festival since 2014.

Admission to the film festival is free for all. More details and a film schedule are available at the MEMORY! Film Festival Myanmar Facebook page.

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