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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unsanctioned Affair: A Peek Into One of Asia's Most Isolated Cultures
One of the things I enjoy most about the documentary film scene is that it can open up worlds that you might not ordinarily have access to. Such is the case with "They Call It Myanmar." Burma is considered one of the most isolated cultures in the modern world. Once one of Asia's most prosperous nations, much of the land and its people have fallen into abject poverty...
Published 20 months ago by K. Harris

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good look into Myanmar
Okay, I'll start by saying that I enjoyed the film to a degree. I came in with a little knowledge, but I really did learn a lot from the film such as the Sapphron Revolution. The interviews were very nice- most of the time. What really bothered me was that at times we would only hear someone talking and be looking at their legs. I understand their faces can't be shown but...
Published 6 months ago by Aamir


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unsanctioned Affair: A Peek Into One of Asia's Most Isolated Cultures, November 16, 2012
This review is from: They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain (DVD)
One of the things I enjoy most about the documentary film scene is that it can open up worlds that you might not ordinarily have access to. Such is the case with "They Call It Myanmar." Burma is considered one of the most isolated cultures in the modern world. Once one of Asia's most prosperous nations, much of the land and its people have fallen into abject poverty. Filmmaker Robert Lieberman visited the country over a period of three years and shot enough footage (much of it was captured surreptitiously) to give us a rather intimate portrait of its current state. While Lieberman's film does highlight the history and politics of the Burma, it is the observations from ordinary citizens that really resonate. Many people refuse to be filmed or are frightened of it, but a persistent Lieberman is never without his camera. And in casual moments, we really glimpse the heart of the Burmese people. Deprived of educational opportunities and put to work at a young age, many yearn to see the outside world and Lieberman represents just such a chance to peek into another life.

Most of what I personally knew about Burma revolved around its political state. Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is, to my estimation, one of the most remarkable women of our age. She is featured within "They Call It Myanmar" and shares some candid insight and wisdom about Burma. But the true star of the picture are the locals. Despite deprivations, they are a curious and hospitable culture and Lieberman captures many exchanges that showcase real humor, hope, and warmth. Sometimes Lieberman can come on a bit strong in his questioning, though, and does occasionally seem a bit intrusive. But most people were happy to talk to him even though they knew it would be frowned upon. The documentary serves as a fine travelogue, highlighting both the beauty of the land (in religious pilgrimages) as well as its squalor (within the city).

"They Call It Myanmar" is certainly not a definitive picture of modern Burma. At only 84 minutes, it is more like an introduction. The film hits the basics of government, religion, education, and history. But it is most successful as a brief glimpse into a culture that exists in relative isolation. The DVD presentation includes Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech as well as some deleted scenes. An easy recommendation to anyone with an interest in Burma, this film is a great place to start your exploration. It's a balanced and fitting tribute to the people that endure hardships and duress and still remain largely optimistic. KGHarris, 11/12.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One nation, under duress, July 25, 2012
By 
D. Hartley (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain (DVD)
Does a nation have a soul? While there are no definitive answers to such rhetorical questions, I can say that after viewing Robert H. Leiberman's surprisingly intimate documentary, "They Call it Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain", I feel that I have experienced something much akin to a revelatory glimpse into the very soul of that country's beautiful people. I confess that I previously had not given much thought to the nation formerly known as Burma. I was aware that it is a Southeast Asian country with a history of British colonial rule. I knew it had been seized and occupied by the Japanese during WW 2. I knew that it had gained its independence in 1948 and since been plagued by civil wars. But beyond that, the country's contemporary socio-political milieu was off my radar (as it was, I suspect, of most Westerners) until recent news footage of our Secretary of State embracing the most high-profile figure in Burmese politics, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Just as the director was wrapping production in 2010, he learned of Suu Kyi's release from house arrest, and arranged for an interview, which he weaves throughout his film. However, it is important to note this is not a documentary about Aung San Suu Kyi. Leiberman has said that he did not initially set out to make a political film; but as he learned during shooting (which was largely clandestine) it is next to impossible to remain apolitical while documenting a people who live under a totalitarian regime (probably only second to North Korea's government for its dogged persistence in turning back the clock on its infrastructure) that has very little concern for their health, education or welfare. One theme that runs rampant throughout is the palpable fear of speaking out (most of the interviewees requested not to be identified).

However, it is precisely because of this state-mandated insular cloak that makes the film a fascinating journey. While there is much misery and suffering on display (definitely no sugarcoating), there is also much unexpected beauty; geographical, historical, cultural and metaphysical. What emerges at the forefront of the latter is the inherent spirit and pride of the everyday Burmese, who despite living in a state of abject poverty maintain a Zen-like, "glass half-full" view of their lives that boggles the Western mind (then again...a majority of them are Buddhists). I liked this film, because it really made me want to root for the people of Myanmar. It's a great example of the potential power of film; this was basically one guy, armed with a hi-def video camera, and balls of brass. It may not be a big production, but it has a big heart.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicately balanced and nuanced, November 5, 2012
This review is from: They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain (DVD)
While the subject of Myanmar is by its nature fraught with opinion, They Call It Myanmar skillfully provides insight into a beautiful and troubled country without being heavy-handed. The viewer is left to make up their own mind, allowing one to fully immerse themselves in the film. Before watching the film, I imagined the people of Myanmar to be beaten down by a long history of oppression by the Junta. I was surprised at the joy of the people of Myanmar in the face of opposition. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of sadness and hardship to go around, but this film doesn't get stuck in the mire of sensationalism. This documentary does exactly what a good documentary should do -- it takes you on a journey through the lens of a camera and lets you, the viewer, make the connections. I was moved, inspired, angered, saddened, and enlightened. In short, a film to remember.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening documentary, January 3, 2013
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This review is from: They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain (DVD)
Very well done documentary that gives a rare look into Myanmar. I learned a lot and really enjoyed the film. It exceeded my expectations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Call It Myanmar, February 24, 2013
By 
Gus Venegas (Cocoa, Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain (DVD)
Shot clandestinely, "They Call It Myanmar" provides insight into a beautiful and troubled country. The viewer is shown the life of ordinary people and left to make up their own mind. Among human rights circles, there is consensus that the military regime in Burma is one of the world's most repressive and abusive regimes. Despite the people of Myanmar been beaten down by a history of oppression by the Junta, it seems that most of the people shown maintained good spirits despite the hardships of everyday life- from lack of political rights to shortages of food, healthcare, and education. This documentary does exactly what a good documentary should do -- it takes you on a journey through the lens of a camera and lets you, the viewer, make the connections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, November 25, 2012
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We just returned from a trip to Burma and this movie captures the essence of the people and country. Although, now that the sanctions have been lifted and the government has opened up, things are much better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inside look at a veiled culture, August 15, 2013
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They call it Myanmar is an informative and visually stunning film about a county that is just now starting to open up. It has in-depth interviews with a wide range of citizens to paint a very grim yet hopeful culture. An interesting insight into how being a Buddhist based country has allowed them to be governed by one of the most repressive governments
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see., April 25, 2013
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A very revealing look at not only Myanmar, but the world, the ugly side of the world we live in. I felt such a love for the people there and yet such a sadness at what it is now. This documentary is done very well, and rather than tell the story, I would just highly recommend it to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary portrays the lives of many Myanmar people realistically., February 22, 2013
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It's very close to what I've seen and experienced during my 1 month backpacking trip. Looking forward to more progress in the country.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i love it this movie, November 27, 2012
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i like it a lot . i bought original dvd also . first i rent from amazon and then i like it that is why i bought it .
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They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain
They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain by Robert Lieberman (DVD - 2012)
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