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Archive - 10th Five Flavours Film Festival

City of Jade

Fei cui zhi cheng
Taiwan, Burma 2016, 99’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Midi Z
screenplay: Midi Z, Wu Pei-chi
cinematography: Midi Z
editing: Midi Z, Lin Sheng-wen
music: Lim Giong
cast: Zhao De-chin, U Aung Kyaw, U Nein, U Zaw Tun, U Zaw Win, U Zaw Moe, U Kyw Ya, Wang Shin-hong
producer: Wang Shin-hong, Midi Z, Isabella Ho, Lin Sheng-wen
production: Myanmar Montage Productions, A Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation, Seashore Image Productions
language: Burmese
colouration: colour

Awards and festivals

Taipei FF 2016 - Festival Prize for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in Music; Berlin IFF 2016; Hong Kong IFF 2016; Golden Horse IFF 2016

Film description

The illegal jade mines in the northern Kaczin State are the product of a new gold rush. The miners, deluded by the dreams of stunning fortunes, put their lives at risk, day after day, to look for the precious ore. The region, suffering from political conflicts, is the place where territorial and economic interests collide, exposing the geopolitical problems of the country.

The reality of the illegal, opencast mines was also the subject of Midi Z's last film, "Jade Mines," screened at the 9th Five Flavours. This time, the director shows this subject from a fundamentally new, personal perspective of his older brother, whom he has not seen in over 20 years. It is not a cold record of the everyday lives of the miners, but also an intimate, emotional family story, in which the author tries to rebuild his relationship with De-chin and understand his brother's choices. The film also features some topics the director took up in his previous films, including drug addiction which he focused on in "Ice Poison" (8th Five Flavours).

The film was made with footage shot in difficult conditions and with a moderate budget. Since his professional equipment was confiscated in this extremely militarized region, Midi Z used the GoPro cameras he gave to the miners working for his brother to document their everyday chores – in this way he opened the documentary to an individual, internal perspective, blurring the lines between the observer and the observed. The small cameras also helped to overcome the distance between the brothers, which grew with the passing years.

Jagoda Murczyńska

Midi Z

Born in 1982 in Burma, in a family of Chinese origins. At the age of 16, he emigrated from the country looking for work - he found it on construction sites in Taiwan. Meanwhile, he studied directing. In 2009, he was accepted into Taipei Golden Horse Film Academy, founded by Hou Hsiao-hsien, as one of the most promising directors of the young generation. His films provide a unique insight into the reality of modern Burma, and are regularly shown at international film festivals. His "Ice Poison" was awarded in Edinburgh and Taipei, and was submitted as the Taiwanese Oscars candidate. Midi Z was the guest of Five Flavours in 2013.

Selected filmography:

2011 Powrót do Birmy / Gui lai de ren/ Return to Burma
2012 Biedni ludzie / Poor Folk
2013 Letters from the South ("Burial Clothes")
2014 Biała śmierć / Bing du / Ice Poison
2015 Kopalnie jadeitu / Wa yu shi de ren / Jade Miners
2016 Miast jadeitu / Fei cui zhi cheng / City of Jade
2016 Droga do Mandalay / Zai jian wa cheng / The Road to Mandalay

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