Thursday, February 2, 2012

Biopic Of Aung San Suu Kyi Set For Release

Biopic Of Aung San Suu Kyi Set For Release

Holly Williams, Asia correspondent

A new film called The Lady based on the life of Aung San Suu Kyi and portraying the private tragedy of Burma's icon of democracy is set for release in Britain this week.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner is played by Asian star Michelle Yeoh, known to western audiences for her roles in Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The already slender Yeoh lost 8kg and learned Burmese to play Ms Suu Kyi as well as researching the part by "reading everything she has ever written".

Aung San Suu Kyi, pictured in December 2010

"You see something, and you know it's going to be special," she said. "I contacted my manager in Los Angeles and said 'please find the people making this film'. It must have been fate, because they were looking for me as well."

The background to the film is political - the democracy protests that began in 1988, Ms Suu Kyi's reluctant leadership, the violent reaction by Burma's military dictators, and the politician's 15 years of house arrest.

But the heart of the story is personal - the terrible choices that Burma's generals imposed on a wife and mother who never wanted to be a political leader.

"She is a mother of two but also the mother of a nation," said Yeoh. "They forced her to choose between her family and her country. They tried to break her spirit."

Actress Michelle Yeoh was desperate to play the part

Ms Suu Kyi's British husband, Michael Aris - played in the film by David Thewlis - died of cancer while his wife remained in Burma.

The military regime refused to grant Mr Aris a visa and Ms Suu Kyi knew that if she left the country she would never be able to return.

Yeoh says she and the film's director Luc Besson both wanted to make "a human drama and tell the love story with her husband".

The actress was able to visit Ms Suu Kyi after completing filming in Thailand and describes the meeting as "inspirational."
"She is very keen to find out what's happening in the rest of the world," said Yeoh. "She hasn't been able to leave the country since 1988."

On a second attempt to visit Suu Kyi in Burma, Yeoh was stopped by immigration officials who "politely" deported her.
"We enjoy democracy that they don't have," said Yeoh. "That's why we needed to tell this incredible story."

:: The Lady is being released in the UK on December 30.

1.Actress Michelle Yeoh was desperate to play the part
2.Aung San Suu Kyi, pictured in December 2010


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