Shadows of the Past

Directed by Zinyaw Mg Mg, ‘Shadows in the Past’ is the most anticipated movie of the year as most of the filming was made in Switzerland. Paired with famous actress Eaindra Kyaw Zin, the film offers Aung Thuya as a fresh new face as the lead actor. He is also the producer and writer of the movie, willing to invest 200 million kyats while most producers in Myanmar aren’t willing to invest even 100 million kyats.

I went to see the film at Thamada Cinema last Sunday with my sister. I haven’t watched Myanmar movies at the theater for years and I’ve only been watching foreign films at Naypyidaw Cinema. I noticed that prices are a bit cheaper at Thamada. I’ve suffered several annoyances while watching foreign films, but in this movie, the audience behaved well. Their laughter didn’t get on my nerves as I was also laughing with them. The only thing that really got on my nerve is that the lack of respect people gives to our national flag. In Myanmar, one has to stand in front of the seats, while the national flag is shown on the screen and the national anthem is being played. However, some people didn’t even get up at all including those teenagers sitting in seats in front of me. Some people only stood for a few seconds and sat down during the middle of the anthem. Only a very few people, including me and my sister, were standing till the anthem ended.

In the movie, Kyaw Moe Naing (Aung Thuya) has been living in Switzerland for 20 years ever since the death of his lover, Hnin (Eaindra Kyaw Zin). One day, he met a girl who not only looks exactly like her, but also has similar names. Her name is Hnin Phyu and she is in Switzerland to take German classes. Kyaw Moe Naing came to believe that Hnin Phyu is reincarnated from Hnin and he fell in love with her. During their free times, he took Hnin sightseeing around Switzerland, from ski resorts to waterfalls.

His relationship with Hnin Phyu is vague for me as they don’t look like they have developed their relationship into the next step, but he’s always showering her with gifts, going shopping with her, and even transferred money in her bank account as a birthday present for her. Khine Hnin Wai (I forgot her character’s name) suspected Hnin Phyu and warned Kyaw Moe Naing to be cautious. But, instead, he mistrusted her after being deceived by Hnin Phyu.

One day, he found a picture of him with his ex-lover, Hnin and a letter inside a magazine in Hnin Phyu’s house. He started to suspect her and found a bottle of poison in the toilet’s tube (why place in the tube, I have no idea). Meanwhile, Hnin Phyu received a call from someone to poison Kyaw Moe Naing and empty his deposits…….

The film is supposed to be a drama, but instead it turned out to be a comedy since the audience was laughing all the times although no jokes or punch lines were said. They were mostly laughing at the actor’s accent and his awkward acting. I have never thought I would enjoy a movie through weak plot and bad acting.

Let me give you an example. In one of the scenes, he and Oo Wae (Eaindra Kyaw Zin’s nickname) were walking down a dark alley where they were attacked by some men. One of the men snatched her necklace and all of them ran away, while forgetting to take her bag. She cried out that they had taken her necklace and he tried to comfort her by saying that he’ll buy a new one. But she was obstinate and she wanted only that necklace. So he said that her desires will be filled. The audience assumed that he would try to get back the necklace from the thugs, but instead he said, “Next time, we won’t travel down this street,” and led her away. You can obviously see why the audience was laughing.

But the actor has a nice attitude. He met with fans personally such as in Bogyoke Market and asked them to come and see his film. It is a nice way for him to get acquainted with his fans. I like to see some of the overrated actors/actresses do that here also, but that’s a wishful thinking of course.

Both Oo Wae and Khine Hnin Wai dressed stylishly, but Oo Wae has more scenes so she got to show off her clothes more. I am amazed that she had several winter jackets to change while even I, who had lived in the States for several years, kept wearing the same winter jacket until I outgrew out of it. Khine Hnin Wai changed her makeup style so her face is darker than seen in other films and videos. Some girls were gossiping that her face looks dark, but I like the change as it made her a different person.

I saw many loopholes in the movie such as how Hnin Phyu was being asked to deposit money from Kyaw Moe Naing’s bank account without knowing his password. Also, he’s being too nice and too forgiving like those charming 2nd lead actors in Korean dramas. I also don’t like Hnin Phyu’s attitude. I understand that she has been sent to kill Kyaw Moe Naing, but has she got no pride? After all, she and Kyaw Moe Naing have only known each other for a few days. She should at least have pretended to be reluctant before accepting the diamond necklace.

I’ll get short to the point since I am getting bored just typing these in English. I made the mistake of writing in Myanmar version first so I lost interest to write in both languages.

The background music is great. You can actually tell the difference between the background music used in most Myanmar films and those that has been edited in a foreign studio. The songs are also nice except for the traditional Myanmar song, which doesn’t seem to match with the sightseeing in Switzerland. I read in a journal that Lay Phyu’s song is based on an Irish music, but it is done with permission. It is a nice improvement to see people actually respecting international copyrights.

So, overall, the movie wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s not also the worst. I can actually tolerate through the bad acting and weak plot because I’ve seen much worse films. I’m planning to watch this again when it comes out in VCD.

Check out the website at the url below.
http://shadows.thura.ch

The above has been taken from Shadows of the Past

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