Kayan Beauties Review

kayan-beauties

(Photo credit: Kayan Beauties)

Ever since I read in the Myanmar Times news journal about the Kayan Beauties movie several years ago, I have been dying to watch the movie because the idea is quite unique and I have been wanting to watch local movies that aren’t low-grade comedies and family dramas. Finally, the Kayan Beauties hit local cinemas in Yangon today so I went to the nearest cinema immediately after I finished my morning classes today.

The film is about three Kayan women who travelled from their village to Taunggyi to sell their handicrafts. They were accompanied by a young Kayan girl who got separated from the group in Taunggyi Market. Human traffickers kidnapped her to sell her to the Kayan village in Thailand, a human zoo for tourist attraction. So, the three Kayan women tried desperately to find the girl.

I read in NOW magazine a few weeks ago that the movie is more like a documentary and I must agree with the author. It does give us a clear message about human trafficking issues while portraying the lives of the Kayan people.

What I like about the movie is the beautiful cinematography and the uniqueness of the Kayan race. One thing for sure is that I learned a lot about the Kayan people. Before I used to think that they were called ‘Padaung’, which is an incorrect label people still use to refer to the race. What surprised me about the Kayan people is their alphabet because it is based on Roman alphabets, unlike other languages.

In my opinion, the movie would have been a lot better if the cast had better acting skills. I’m not talking about the Kayan ladies. I know they have no acting experiences but they were better than I had expected. I’m talking about the co-actors who speak in Myanmar, especially the gang members. There was a lot of awkwardness in the film and simply bad acting. They sounded like they were reciting lines instead of acting. Seriously, I don’t know who annoyed me more, the gang leader or his girlfriend. The only person I recognize is Tun Lwin Aung, who played the police. I think he’s the only Myanmar co-actor in the film who can actually act.

Another thing is that the dialogues were mostly spoken in Kayan language so there was Myanmar subtitle for the Kayan dialogues but there weren’t any English subtitle, which is a bummer for my American friend who doesn’t know Myanmar language.

While I was reading the subtitles, I can’t help noticing the incorrect grammar usage in the subtitles. I think the person who translated the dialogue couldn’t differentiate between “ပဲ” (pae) and “ဘဲ” (bae). I’m not a Grammar Nazi and I myself make grammar mistakes all the time but still, I wish it could have been avoidable.

Also, it would have been better if the lead characters didn’t have similar names. I still don’t know who is who because all of their names started with “Mu” and it’s very confusing for me. I only know Mu Yan is the girl that got kidnapped.

Still, I want to watch this movie again after the DVD has been released.

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