‘Twilight Over Burma’ To Be Reviewed by Censorship Board

By Tin Htet Paing 14 June 2016

RANGOON — “Twilight Over Burma,” a film about a Shan leader and his Austrian wife, will be subjected to the scrutiny of the film censorship board before it receives permission to be premiered in Burma at the annual Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival, which starts Tuesday, according to a board member.

The film tells the real-life tale of an Austrian woman, Inge Sargent, who became royalty when she married Sao Kya Seng, an ethnic Shan prince—or saopha—from Hsipaw, Shan State. It covers the early days of Burma’s independence up to the years immediately following the 1962 military coup, and is based on Sargent’s autobiography, “Twilight Over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess.”

Sao Kya Seng instituted land reforms and promoted democracy, but was arrested by the Burma Army during Gen Ne Win’s coup. He was later killed in prison under mysterious circumstances.

Although it was scheduled to be the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival’s first screening on Tuesday at Rangoon’s Naypyitaw Cinema, the movie has since been pulled.

Phone Maw, a member of the film censorship board and a secretary of the Myanmar Motion Picture Organization (MMPO), told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that the final decision of the censorship board will be announced on Thursday after the board has its second viewing of the film. He added that the board had already given initial comments on the film but had decided to hold a second viewing as the board members were not yet ready to give permission for a public screening.

“The main reason [for the review] is that [the content] of the film could damage the ethnic unity of the state,” Phone Maw said.

The film censorship board is made up of 15 representatives from different associations including the MMPO and Myanmar Music Association. Ministries such as Home Affairs and Religious Affairs and Culture are also represented on the board.