They Call it Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain


They Call it Myanmar is an impressionistic documentary journey culled from over 150 hours of striking footage that explores the depth and vastness of Burma, from its vibrant indigenous culture to its revolving door of pre- and post-colonial dictatorships. During director Robert Lieberman’s time in Burma working first for the U.S. embassy and then an NGO, he shot footage continually, though it was strictly forbidden – and dangerous. Now his footage forms an unexpected and expressive portrait of a place they call Myanmar, a nation that is a mystery to much of the world.
The film traces the history of Burma (the colonial name of the country, used today by Aung Sun Suu Kyi and other dissidents of the current military junta) from its beginnings in the ancient city of Bagan, through colonial times, through recent uprisings, the devastating Cyclone Nargis that killed 150,000 people, to the present day. As the story unfolds, we see the unique and powerful role Burmese Buddhism plays in the culture and politics of the nation. On the heels of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from nearly two decades of house arrest and her historic trip to Norway to finally accept her Nobel Peace Prize, the release of this remarkable film could not be more timely.