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Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2008)

Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land (original title)
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Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks.

Director:

Anders Østergaard
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
George W. Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
Ko Muang Ko Muang ... Himself
Aung San Suu Kyi Aung San Suu Kyi ... Herself
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Storyline

Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

monk | burma | fear | arrest | network | See All (19) »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Japan] | See more »

Language:

Burmese | English

Release Date:

9 January 2009 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Burma VJ See more »

Filming Locations:

Burma See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,820, 24 May 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$50,436, 9 August 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Narrator: We have do rely on handicamns. But the things we did with theses things could shook up the people of Burma, as well as the people around the world.
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Connections

Featured in 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die: Episode 1 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Frustrating and terrifying
17 May 2016 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

In 1962, the Burmese government was overthrown in a coup by the socialist military, who maintained control of the country until 2011. During this time, Burma deteriorated into poverty, while any protests or statements made against the ruling government were quickly crushed through intimidation, torture, outlandishly long jail sentences and executions. In 1988, a series of marches, rallies and protests now known as the 8888 Uprising were brought to a bloody end as the military killed 3,000 civilians in the streets.

With the media controlled by the state and a ban on any footage leaving the country, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has trained its journalists to work as guerrilla cameraman, working in the shadows to capture any acts of oppression or revolution. They work as a network but rarely meet, communicating using mobile phones and internet chatrooms, and frequently putting themselves at great personal risk. Being captured could mean death, with our narrator, known as 'Joshua', having his footage wiped early on by secret police and being forced into exile. Clever reconstructions of Joshua receiving updates on a new uprising now known as the Saffron Revolution, led by the Buddhist monks, forms a tense narrative.

The footage captured by the DVB is astonishing, with the action taking place right before your eyes. It is also, at times, incredibly intimate. Early on, the monks distrust the DVB, suspecting they are secret police. When the cameramen are attacked by plain-clothes military, the monks protect them and trust is immediately solidified. You are instantly swept up by the protesters elation and feel their incredible sense of hope, so it's absolutely shattering to see it all torn away. Director Anders Ostergaard weaves the footage together expertly, and the film is wholly deserving of its Best Documentary nomination at the Academy Awards in 2010 (and probably deserved to win). It's as close as you could get to being on the streets of a country under a crushing regime, and the results are frustrating and terrifying.


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