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Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston boasts an outstanding selection

March 03,2017 10:15

Every year the Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston presents an outstanding selection of films from around the world, many of them accompanied by the filmmakers who participate in question-and-answer sessions. This year's festival, running March 9-12, ...and more »



Every year the Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston presents an outstanding selection of films from around the world, many of them accompanied by the filmmakers who participate in question-and-answer sessions. This year’s festival, running March 9-12, screens 28 features — most are documentaries, including the opening night film, “In Exile,” by Tin Win Niang of Myanmar (formerly Burma).In 2007, Niang covertly filmed the “Saffron Revolution,” in which Buddhist monks led a failed attempt to reform the Myanmar military dictatorship. In 2008, he filmed the aftermath of the catastrophic tsunami, showing the destruction and the abject failure of the government to respond to it. That’s when he learned that the “Special Branch” of the police was looking for him. He fled to neighboring Thailand, leaving his family behind, and taking few possessions other than a toothbrush and his camera.
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While he was there, he saw for himself the plight of the 2 million to 3 million Myanmar migrants working in Thailand, most of them illegal, some working under conditions of virtual slavery. So he decided to make use of his camera and shoot a film about it. “In Exile” records the lives of the refugees and their exploitation, and also their resilience and mutual support. Niang hears horror stories about workers shot for stealing dung, or burned to death with tires doused in gasoline. “There is a saying in Thailand,” he says. “One Burmese, two tires.”

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Niang was lucky; after two years he was able to return safely to Myanmar when a more democratic government replaced the military junta and offered amnesty to all political refugees. But millions of economic exiles still toil in the fields and factories of Thailand — poor, desperate, and in fear.
“In Exile” screens as part of the Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Studio Cinema in Belmont.
For more information go to www.worldwidecinemaframes.com.
Some places possess an aura of the past, especially when past events have not been good. Experimental documentary filmmaker Deborah Stratman’s “The Illinois Parables” investigates 11 such places in her home state of the title, uncovering their stories and the lessons they teach about the thin boundary between the rational and irrational.

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The film ponders the places where Native Americans, expelled from their home territory, marched and died in the 1830s; the town of Nauvoo, where Mormons were persecuted in the 1840s; and Chicago, where Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was killed by the police in 1969. They are stories involving violence, religion, rebellion, and resistance told through reenactment, archival footage, observational shooting, inter-titles, and voice-over of texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Alexis de Tocqueville, and others.“Illinois Parables” screens as part of the DocYard series at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Brattle Theatre. Stratman will appear in person to take questions after the screening.
For more information go to www.brattlefilm.org/2017/03/06/the-illinois-parables.
Peter Keough can be reached at petervkeough@gmail.com.

movies,documentary,festival,Ralph Waldo Emerson,Alexis de Tocqueville,Black Panther Party

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