Friday, February 4, 2011

Zarganar documentary screened in India

Friday, 04 February 2011 21:28 Te Te

New Delhi (Mizzima) – ‘The Prison Where I live’, a film about the Burmese comedian Zarganar, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence, was screened on Thursday at the South Asia Foreign Reporters’ Club in New Delhi.

British director Rex Bloomstein filmed the documentary in 2007, and it includes numerous interviews with the popular comedian who was jailed by the military government for his humanitarian work during Cyclone Nargis.

‘Democracy and human rights is the hottest issues of Burma and in the world arena’, film producer Justin Temple told Mizzima. ‘They have conducted a general election in Burma but more than 2,200 political prisoners are still in prisons.

The comedian Zarganar shown in the documentary film '
The Prison Where I Live'
‘Among them, Zarganar is known to the whole world for his marvelous spirit. In this film, we tell about these political prisoners by portraying his exemplary role’.

The 90-minute film, includes scenes and interviews filmed while traveling with Zarganar for two days, and it discusses topics including the torture of political prisoners, banning performance artists and surveillance on artists and entertainers by the military authorities.

The film was showed at a Munich film festival in Germany in June last year.

Director Bloomstein said on his website that he had numerous interviews with Zarganar, and he got the idea for the film after the authorities arrested the comedian following the Saffron Revolution in 2007 and Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

The film includes many insights by Zarganar, made to director Bloomstein, such as: “The people have many words that they dare not speak in their deep hearts. I am just the amplifier of these words for them’’.

The website promoting 'The Prison Where I Live' is full of
information about Zarganar and political prisoners in
‘We laugh when the people laugh, we cry when the people cry, we hate when the people hate. We must stand in front of them.’

The narrator of the film, Michael Mittermeier, is one of the most famous comedians in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and he has visited Burma as a tourist. Mittermeier says at the end of the film: ‘They can oppress only the body but not the soul, spirit and heart. What they fear are these things’.

The film was shown at the International Film Festival held in Jaipur, India, from January 27 to 30. It will also be screened in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.

A secret court inside Insein Prison sentenced Zarganar to 59 years in November 2009 (later reduced to 35 years) on charges that he violated the military government’s laws regarding sending electronic transmissions (Internet usage) that could endanger public security and threaten the state and other charges.

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