Yadanabon (Treasure Trove)

Yadanabon Film

The annual Wathann Film Festival held a special memorial screening of ‘Yadanabon’ (Treasure Trove) last Wednesday. Continue reading


Kayan Beauties Review


(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. Continue reading

Chit Chinn Ei Pyin Sha Sha Yin Khone Than

“Chit Chinn Ei Pyin Sha Sha Yin Khone Than” is a remake of a movie (video) based on Lun Htar Htar’s novel. The original movie was released either in 1997 or 1998 and it featured major movie stars Dwe and Soe Myat Thuzar. I don’t recall the original title, but it has something to do with the “La Min Chit Thu” song. The new remake, with Pyay Thi Oo and Thet Mon Myint, is a little different from the original although it’s basically the same story about a girl who was crazily in love with her friend and expresses herself openly. Actually, this kind of behavior is called “မိန္းမေနာက္ပိုး” in Myanmar. I can’t find the exact translation for that word in English. It means a girl who courts a guy instead of the other way around. Such kind of behavior is frowned upon in our country. They even blamed Korean dramas for making girls believe that she can confess their love openly. But, I’m not going to talk about that issue. So, let’s just focus on this story.

Sat Ma Ma Ko is hopelessly in love with Nyi Thu Ta who is in the same Medical College with her. She would often walk to and fro in front of him, hoping to make him notice her. Unfortunately, Nyi Thu Ta is a bookworm and it takes quite a long time for him to look up from his book. Besides, she is not his type at all. She’s very clumsy, talkative, and not ladylike at all.

So, one day, she borrowed her mother’s clothing and attempted to act like a lady in front of him, but all was in vain when she discovered that her friends stole her wallet and she ran after them while cursing them. She would often bother him while he’s studying just to strike a conversation. Even though he was pretty annoyed with her, he considered her a friend and tried to help her with the study, even when she’s barely awake.

As the years passed, their relationship deepens. They were still in school, but they also have to start reporting to the hospitals. (In Myanmar, we call it “House ဆင္းတယ္”. I don’t think it’s the same as being an intern ‘cuz they haven’t graduated from the medical school yet). Sat Ma Ma met an poor elderly woman who was unable to buy her medicines so she promised to buy them for her. But, when she went back to the hospital, the elderly woman had been discharged from the hospital. Still determined to hand in the medicines along with some other presents, she asked Nyi Thu Ta to drive her to the village where the woman was living. It was a bit far away from the city, but since they had a car, they could come back quickly. When they arrived to her village, they had to cross a very narrow bamboo bridge that has only one railing. Sat Ma Ma was wearing high heels, but she managed to cross it with Nyi Thutta’s help.

When they arrived at the house, the elderly woman gave back two gourds as presents. Nyi Thu Ta didn’t want them, but Sat Ma Ma accepted them as she didn’t want to hurt the woman’s feelings. On the way back from the house, they bickered about bringing gourds. Upon reaching the bamboo bridge, Nyi Thu Ta didn’t help Sat Ma Ma at all while she had to cross it holding the gourds while wearing high-heels. They were also still bickering when suddenly; she fell off the bridge into the water below. Nyi Thu Ta jumped into the water to help her and got her back on the bridge. Not only were they stinking wet, but to their dismay, they also lost the car key. As there was no way to get back home that day and the sun was already setting, Nyi Thu Ta made up his mind and asked her to elope with him. Of course, Sat Ma Ma was ecstatic to accept his proposal.

They had a grand wedding and it just wouldn’t be Sat Ma Ma without any mishaps. And they had a daughter who was exactly like Sat Ma Ma. I felt sorry for Nyi Thu Ta :P.

Compared to the original version, the ending was different. In the original movie, they didn’t show the young daughter in her childhood. Instead, her daughter grew up to become a Medical College student and like her mother, she was desperately in love with her friend. One day, after eating out with her friends, she felt sleepy so she went to sleep in her friend’s car. But, she got into the wrong car and slept in the boy’s car instead. Her parents got worried when she didn’t come home and they called everyone, including the boy. He had no clue that she was sleeping in his car and he only found out in the morning. So, he decided to elope with her. When he returned the daughter to her parents, he lied about the reason for eloping, but her father asked him whether he has lost his car key or something. Ha ha. I remember this clearly because that boy was Thet Ti.

I used to dislike Thet Mon Myint because she was bad at acting and her voice was extremely weak. I had only seen her in political movies on TV and I had decided not to rent any of her movies. I didn’t watch any of her movies until I watched “Venus’s Love” and I was really impressed with her. Also in this movie, she was really hilarious. My favorite scene is when she was lighting the candles at the pagoda and her hair caught on fire.

Although I can’t remember much of the original movie except the ending, I think the casts were a bit older to be medical students while Pyay Ti Oo and Thet Mon Myint were more suitable for the roles.
Note: I actually wrote this five/six months ago, but I never got around to posting it. Even though it’s no longer a new video, it seemed such a waste not to post it.

About my Myanmar movies reviews

I’ve been wondering whether I should waste my time writing reviews for Myanmar movies. Aside from the comments from my regular readers, I get no other feedback. I mean I do enjoy writing them, but sometimes they take up too much time (like ‘The Trail of Clouds which took me more than 3 hours to write) and I get lazy if I don’t post immediately. I still have two movies to review, but instead of writing them, I wrote a review for another movie. I’ll post that one later when I come online again.

You might wonder why I waste my time with them since I am not a big fan of Myanmar movies in the first place. Well, it’s because I want a record of them online. I mean nobody really writes about Myanmar entertainment in English aside from me. I guess since I enjoy reading the drama reviews by javabeans, I wanted to write something in return. I used to write more about Kdramas and stuff, but now I write less ‘cuz the information can be found elsewhere and I’m always late with the info most of the times.

I’m not a critic and I don’t have the skills to be a movie critic. There are still many things I lack about movie industry so I just wrote from my point of view without dissing people. I always try my best not to dis people since nobody likes being criticized and I don’t want to be such a cynic. Am I a cynic? I like I do enjoy writing from the negative point of view.

It’s also been awhile since I post reviews about Myanmar albums and VCDs/DVDs also. Like I said, I’m a lazy person so I only write when I’m in the mood and if the information is still update to share online.

On the Trail of Clouds

Directed by Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, “On the Trail of Clouds (တိမ္ေတြသြားတဲ့လမ္း)” features Ye Tike, Htun Eindra Bo, May, Htun Htun Win, and May Thinzar Oo. It’s is one of the most cryptic Myanmar movie I have seen (or I so believed for the first hour), but the clues were so obvious. Even those who have never read a mystery before could point out the real murderer (although I thought it was Daw Aye Aye Chit at first). The ending was a bit (just a tiny bit) unpredictable.

Nay Thurein is an accomplished lawyer who has never lost a case in the courtroom. He was chosen by the client, Daw Myint Zu Khine, to take on her case because of his reputation. Daw Myint Zu Khine is accused of murdering her business partner, U Aung Khant, but she denied the charge. She was desperate to get out of jail so she offered to give half of her possessions to Nay Thurein if he can get her bail. His girlfriend Thiri, who was also the public defendant of the case, didn’t want him to take her case because she didn’t want to have to go against him in court. Also, she truely believed that Daw Myint Zu Khine was the real murderer. But, Nay Thurein believed his client and got her bail although he turned down the money offer.

I love the way she told Nay Thurein to change his perfume because she doesn’t like it.

One of the reason why he believed Daw Myint Zu Khine was because she had a reliable witness. On the day of the murder, she was meeting with Daw Aye Aye Chit the whole day. After they had signed a contract, they went out to dinner to celebrate. So, there was no way for her to be with U Aung Khant at the same time. Daw Aye Aye Chit was a bit relutant to stand in court, but Nay Thurein assured her that by doing so, she was helping an innocent person who was wrongly accused.

One day, he received a phone call from a frightened Daw Myint Zu Khine, who asked him to come to her house immediately. At her house, she explained that she’s been getting mysterious phone calls and was feeling followed by strange men. Since she was out of jail now, the real murderer could be feeling uneasy now. She explained that she used to do business together with the deceased U Aung Khant and U Myin Wai, but she stopped after the two men had a disagreement and became enemies. She believed that U Myin Wai is responsible for the latest threats. (I think their relationship deepened somewhere around here because he started calling her “Ma Ma” instead of her name. I’ve just deleted the movie so I can’t check back.)

Nay Thurein showed the new evidence in court that she has a witness at the time of the murder and she has been feeling threatened ever since she got bail. His evidence sounded pretty convincing, but Thiri didn’t even bat an eye. She argued that there was no other witness beside Daw Aye Aye Chit, and she could have been covering up for Daw Myint Zu Khine. Also, when she questioned Daw Myint Zu Khine about her childhood, which she explained was relevant to the case, she revealed that Daw Myint Zu Khine grew up in an orphanage and she attempted suicide while she was living there. Nay Thurein was both shocked and angry with his client for keeping her past hidden from him.

Daw Myint Zu Khine took him to her old orphanage and reminisced her past. She was pretty close with a girl called Wah Wah, until Wah Wah was adopted. She also got adopted later on, but she had to ran away back to the orphange. That’s also the time when she attempted suicide.

While he was discussing about her with Thiri, he received a phone call from Daw Myint Su Khine, who was being chased by some men in a car garage. He rushed to the scene, but before he could do anything, they left quickly in a car. Daw Myint Myint Khine told him that she was chased by those men because of Nay Thurein. As long as she was in jail, U Myin Wai could get away with the murder. The next day (maybe), he received a letter from U Myin Wai to meet up with him. U Myin Wai attempted to coax Nay Thurein to drop the case.

I love the background setting in this scene.

On the next hearing, Thiri showed a report in which those who attempted suicide before when they were young were more likely to break the laws more often than others. Later on, Nay Thurein emotionally revealed to Thiri that he also grew up in a orphange and had attempted suicide before. After crying his heart out (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit), he went to see Daw Myint Zu Khine. He was in for a shock to see Daw Myint Zu Khine and Daw Aye Aye Chit together. He drew on the fact that Daw Aye Aye

Chit’s old friend, Wah Wah, is Daw Aye Aye Chit. How could he trust his client now? Here, Daw Myint Zu Khine is amazing. She doesn’t lose her cool a bit at all. She explained calmly that Daw Aye Aye Chit was her friend Wah Wah, who she helped to set up her own business.

A day later or so, Nay Thurein was stabbed and was taken to hospital. After he got out, he found out that Daw Myint Zu Khine had taken him off the case. Even though he was no longer her lawyer, he was still determined to find out the truth as he lives for justice.

Hah…he looks like an Indian actor.

OML….never in my life have I spend this much amount of time in attempting to write a summary for a Myanmar movie. My arms and fingers are practically aching now. I know I’ve been typing for hours now, but one I got started, I didn’t want to stop until I’m finished. Otherwise, I will keep thinking “Oh, I should have added that or Oh, I should have used that word instead.” I know my summary is not perfect ‘cuz I couldn’t explain the situations in the court due to my lack of knowledge in that area.

Ye Tike fans would surely love this film, seeing him in a new light as a lawyer, although the part about him being successful is a bit exaggerated ‘cuz journalists don’t interview lawyers about their cases (at least in here). Also, I wish he wasn’t too emotional sometimes.

Htun Eindra Bo’s character was difficult to understand. Sometimes, I don’t know what’s she really thinking, but that’s what make the story more interesting, isn’t it? Her outfits in jails were a bit irrelevant because she look too stylish for a person in jail although that red outfit really brings out the mood.

May is a new actress, but one wouldn’t think of her as person with little experience. Her character is a bit annoying sometimes because she acts like she’s miss-know-it-all. Maybe wearing the spectacles helped with the impression.

What makes this movie unique, (well what makes all Satori movies unique), is that they have English subtitle and the sound system is far better than any other movies. In “On the Trail of Clouds”, it’s even better. Sometimes, it sounded as if the audio were recorded in the studio. When watching other Myanmar movies, sometimes I worry that I’m becoming deaf because my family always ask me to turn down the volume. They said they can hear perfectly while I couldn’t unless I raise the volume. Even then, I couldn’t hear clearly. Maybe the sound is better because the movie is on DVD instead of regular VCDs.

I’m not saying the movie is perfect because I can detect some weakness in the plot. What I couldn’t understand was why the police didn’t question Daw Aye Aye Chit before the case was taken to court. She looked like she had no clue about the arrest until Nay Thurein approached her. It’s like he’s playing rent-a-cop because the police aren’t doing their job. 😀 And how about those men that attempted to attack Daw Myint Zu Khine? Who gave the order have Nay Thurein stabbed? Like in some Korean movies, questions remain unanswered.

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.

The above has been taken from Shadows of the Past

Meeting with the Ghosts

I know the title sounds lame but it was more impressive in the Myanmar language. This is actually a video I watched a week ago, but I haven’t been able to blog about it until now as I was too caught up watching American tv series.

It’s one of the few ghost/supernatural videos/movies that had been filmed earlier before newer ghost/supernatural movies are banned. According to the article I read in the journal, the interviewer said that there were too many unrealistic things in those videos that didn’t make logical sense at all so they had to put a stop to it. I’m not really a big fan of Myanmar ghost videos, but such kind of rules just kills creativity which most videos already lack in the first place.

Okay, I’ll stop being off topic. Now, back to the topic, this movie was directed by Director Mg Myo Min. When I first saw the preview, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it, but I didn’t expect myself to become interested in the movie.

The story plot is….

Moe Yan had a car accident and he ended up in a forest in the middle of nowhere at night. He saw Little Red Riding Hood, I meant Sandy and was taken to her house which was a really splendid house which was somehow built in the middle of nowhere. He was introduced to her family which includes the parents, the brother Eain Eain, and the little sister Yoon. He was given a room that looked like a creepy nursery and was told not to leave the room during the night no matter what he hears. He left the house the next day, but couldn’t find his way out so he ended up at the pretty house again. On the third day, the parents left the house, leaving a note for Moe Yan to take care of the family while they are gone. But, Moe Yan couldn’t stay as his mother was about to give birth at the hospital and he was worried about her. After begging for help, Eain Eain gave him a map to find his way out of the forest. However, instead of getting out, he met a couple who were led to the house by Eain Eain. The map was useless and so he ended up at the house again. He was pretty suspicious of the family, especially after find the mother hiding in the attic. One day (I lost track of the days), he saw Eain Eain leave the house, holding a blue notebook which Moe Yan was told not to touch. He followed the kid into a wooden house and took the book after he left. When he opened the book, he found out that the three children were born between the 1950s and the 1960s

I read that this video was Moe Yan Zun’s first video. I didn’t expect him to be good at acting at all, but he surprised me because he was not like other new actors who I can’t stand. I won’t name them since some of you might be their fans.

Chit Thu Wai is a little creepy when she smiles like that. I only didn’t like her when she started talking in those not so creepy ‘I’m a ghost so I talk words by words’ voice in the wooden house.

When Eain Eain is acting angry, he acts like a psycho kid. He doesn’t freak me out, but he gets on my nerves when he speaks like an adult, but then again he was supposed to be older than Moe Yan according to the story.

This cutie pie name is Aye Mya Phyu. Isn’t she just adorable?

Also, the story is a little confusing. In one of the scenes, there was this woman with long hair that came out of the attic and grabbed Moe Yan’s hand. I wonder who that woman was? Was it Than Than Soe, the runaway mother? But then again, why would she behave like acting out a scene from The Grudge when she wasn’t a ghost or a killer ghost? Yes, that scene was so The Grudge.

Since it’s a ghost movie, I accept that the plot is unrealistic. But does that include the facts that they live in the middle of nowhere in a grand house with full electricity, TV, refrigerator, etc? If the ghosts were dead long before the 1970s, how is it possible that they watch Tom & Jerry all the time on TV? If they had live in such a remote place, they probably wouldn’t have even heard of Tom & Jerry. But then again, it is unrealistic after all. Just like when Moe Yan’s sister knew the date when Sandy and her siblings died when Sandy didn’t tell him. She only said one day, not the date. Maybe Moe Yan had ESP with the ghosts :P.