The annual Wathann Film Festival held a special memorial screening of ‘Yadanabon’ (Treasure Trove) last Wednesday.
Yadanabon is an old classic black-and-white film released in 1953 that is based on the novel of the same name written by Shwe U Daung. Actually, the novel was adapted from “East Lynne” written by British novelist Ellen Wood. It’s about the collapse of a happy marriage after the wife left her husband and three children to elope with another man and her return to the family in disguise to work as a governess for her children.
Produced by the A1 Family Company, famous film director and actor Tin Maung directed and starred in the film with Kyi Kyi Htay, Tin Tin Mu and other casts, including his own children and niece and nephews.
A DVD copy of the film was obtained from the Czech National Archive as the film was screened at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechoslovakia, (now the Czech Republic) in 1957. The original film was three hours long, but the edited version kept by the Czech National Archive is only two hours long so important scenes from the original film were included in the film.
Film director Thein Htut from the A1 Family said the film was made within three months in 1953 in time for the university exam as the novel was part of the university’s curriculum. The film was a success back then and the director and the film received Academy Awards.
Yadanabon has been aired on MRTV several times but the film and sound quality is totally different from the one that was screened at the film festival. I have watched the film once on TV when I was little, but I didn’t remember much of it so it was enjoyable to watch it on the big screen.
I must admit that I have never read the novel so some facts seemed to be unexplained in the film. Maybe it’s because the film has been edited so the details got lost. According to the plot, the sister-in-law is one of the reasons why the wife left her husband and children, but in the film, she didn’t say anything harsh to the wife at all. Another thing is I don’t understand how a child can get sick right away and the parents decide to keep him at home instead of taking him to a hospital. Perhaps they didn’t have much medical knowledge back in those days.
Before watching this film, I read a few chapters of “East Lynne”, the original novel, and I noticed that some of the facts have been changed in the Myanmar adaptation. I haven’t read both novels yet so I can’t make full comparisons. To tell the truth, the original novel was a bit boring for me to read so I don’t know when I’ll finish reading it. Maybe I’ll just read the adapted version.
*The photos have been taken from Watthan Film Festival’s Facebook page except the one I have taken during the film screening.