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Sharon D. Allen,
A Unique and Powerful Story of the Struggle for Freedom
I had the pleasure to see this remarkable and inspiring film screen at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. The film is truly unusual and unique. It is the type of film that leads you to appreciate the freedoms that Americans take for granted. However, flawed journalism is in the United States, our first amendment allows journalists to report freely. In Burma, journalism is a crime and those who report the truth are risking their lives to bring the story of their country's repressive regime to the rest of the world. Burma VJ is the story of the efforts of a remarkable group of Burmese photojournalists with the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) - who secretly videotape during the failed Sept, 2007 uprising against the Burmese military regime. The bravery of the journalists who attempt to report these events and the monks who led the rebellion against the military is humbling and the videos they take are mesmerizing.
Sadly, these events made headlines for a few days in 2007 and then the world promptly forgot about Burma yet again. It remains today one of the most isolated and forgotten places on Earth. Its regime remains one of the most repressive in the world, perhaps only behind that of North Korea. This film is a cry for the world not to forget the on-going tragedy of Burma. The story almost tells itself as it gives us the chance to bear witness to the crimes against humanity committed by the military junta. Of course, the video quality of recordings on small hidden cameras sometimes leaves something to be desired, but their very shakiness reflects narrowness of the link connecting us back to suffering of the Burmese.
This film is testament to the Burmese struggle and it should be viewed by all those who believe that all humans deserve the right to live in freedom. It is a beautiful eloquent testimony to the human desire to be free and I hope many people watch and rally to the support of the long-suffering people of Burma. Their story deserves to be told and Burma VJ is an unforgettable film of human courage.
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