© Universum/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany GmbH

The Lady - Ein geteiltes Herz (The Lady)
France/U.K. 2011

Opening 5 Apr 2012

Directed by: Luc Besson
Writing credits: Rebecca Frayn
Principal actors: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett, Jonathan Woodhouse, Susan Wooldridge

Love for your spouse, love for your children, or love for your country - which is most important? Director Luc Besson concentrates on the personal relationships of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy activist, who won a majority in the 1990 parliamentary election only to be placed under house arrest as the military imposed martial law. Michelle Yeoh gives a stunning performance in her portrayal of Suu Kyi, expressing intense emotions that Suu Kyi may have experienced while sacrificing so much of herself in the pursuit of a democratic government for Burma.

Besson opens the film with Oxford professor Michael Aris, played superbly by David Thewlis, being diagnosed with terminal cancer. This tragic beginning was hardly necessary given the true drama of the lives shared by Aris and his wife Suu Kyi. The movie then flashes back to the assassination of Suu Kyi's father when she was three years old, then fast forwards to England in 1988 where she lives with Aris and their two young sons. She receives a call that her mother, still living in Burma, is ill. Suu Kyi travels immediately to Burma where she sees first hand the brutality and human rights abuses of the military junta. The rest of the film shows snippets of the turmoil in Burma and Suu Kyi's struggle for democratic reforms along with the National League for Democracy. Aris worked tirelessly along side Suu Kyi, and after his visa for Burma was withdrawn, the film follows his continued efforts from abroad including applying for his wife to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 1993. Under house arrest at the time, her son accepted the award on her behalf. Although the pacing is a bit slow and the details of Burmese politics are too few, this film is a compelling introduction to The Lady. (Mary Nyiri)

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