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Archive - 10th Five Flavours Film Festival

The Road to Mandalay

Zai jian wa cheng
Taiwan, Myanmar, France, Germany 2016, 108’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Midi Z
screenplay: Midi Z
cinematography: Tom Fan
editing: Matthieu Laclau
music: Lim Giong
cast: Ko Kai, Wu Ke-xi, Wang Shin-hong, Zhao De-fu, Zheng Meng-lan, Pan Zheng-li, Kuang Jia-en, Li Wan-wu, Xu De-wei
producer: Patrick Mao Huang, Midi Z, Vincent Wang, Dominique Welinski, Katharina Suckale, Arfi Lamba, Aditya Assart, Zhao De-Fu
production: Seashore Image Productions, Flash Forward Entertainment Myanmar Montage Films, House on Fire
language: Thai, Burmese, English, Chinese
colouration: colour

Awards and festivals

Golden Horse FF 2016 - Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year; Venice IFF 2016 - Fedeora Prize for Best Film; Toronto IFF 2016; Vancouver IFF 2016; Busan IFF 2016; Mumbai IFF 2016; Sao Paulo IFF 2016

Film description

Linaqing and Guo meet at the Burmese border which they both crossed illegally looking for a better life in Thailand. The reality of illegal immigrants' life is not the perfect setting for building a relationship, but the protagonists, busy looking for work and trying to get a residence permit, begin to grow close. Yet, their visions for the future are fundamentally different: the ambitious Lianquing wants to reach higher, while Guo's only goal is to earn some money and return home.

Midi Z returns to feature films after two documentaries and installations devoted to the Burmese working in jade mines. In his new film, he intertwines documentary with fiction in his own, characteristic way, creating an extremely powerful, authentic picture. He does not pity his protagonists – the frank, genuine record of their emotional and geographical journey is closed in long, perfectly framed shots, which find the hypnotic beauty in the least expected spaces. The melancholic soundtrack highlights their alienation from the place, at the same time creating an atmosphere of an unnamed suspense.

The leading roles are played by Midi Z's favorite actress, awarded at many festivals, Wu Ke-xi (both of them were the guests of the 7th edition of Five Flavours), and Ko Kai, a popular Taiwanese actor (known from romantic comedies, such as "Tiny Times"), who gladly sheds off his celebrity aura in the role of a factory worker. The independent Burmese filmmaker made "Road to Madalay" on a budget much larger than usual, which accounts for the high production quality of the film, but doesn't make it any less fresh and direct. The picture is a strong, auteur voice, a proof of the artistic maturity of its maker.

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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