Perspectives from Myanmar, Part Three: Lights from The Underground
This programme is conceived by 3-ACT, a non-profit film community organisation in Myanmar that initiates projects to support new forms of storytelling. Examining past and present social commentary in Burmese cinema, this film selection consists of early classics by established directors—First Class by Tha Du and The Daughter of Japan by Nyi Pu—and an anthology of experimental short films by contemporary filmmakers like Moe Myat May Zarchi, Kaung Myat Thu Kyaw and Lin Htet Aung.
+ Read More
3-ACT was founded in 2018 by local filmmakers in Yangon. Although well-known in Myanmar, it is only now being discovered by cinephiles elsewhere, and has been featured in local and global media including The Myanmar Times, NHK, Nikkei Asian Review and famous French cinema magazine Cahier Du Cinema. 3-ACT has three main activities: publishing, programming and education. 3-ACT publishes a bilingual cinema magazine which is the only educational film publication in Myanmar which showcases new research. They also organize and curate film programmes, such as the MEMORY! International Film Festival, the Japanese Film Festival, Myanmar, and recently, the Ecological Futurism exhibition at Ambika P3, London, UK. 3-ACT’s education initiatives include teaching Burmese cinema history at Yangon Film School, running workshops for experimental filmmakers, and organising panel discussions and talks at film festivals.
For more information on 3-ACT magazine, see: https://www.3-actfilm.com/3act-cinema-magazine
San Minn. Age of Full Bloom. 1979. Oil and metal chain on canvas, 89 x 59 cm. Collection of National Gallery Singapore. Image courtesy of San Minn.
Bagyi Aung Soe. Woman, Snakes, Lizards and Ogre. C. 1972. Oil on Masonite board, 51 x 36 cm. Collection of National Gallery Singapore. Image courtesy of National Heritage Board, Singapore.
As part of this programme, there will be a free curator tour of the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery on Sunday 3 July, 11am. Participants will be brought on a tour of related artworks by celebrated Burmese artists like U Ba Nyan and San Minn. The tour will focus on modern art in Myanmar and the society to which it relates. Please click ‘BOOK TOUR’ to register.
- Read Less
LIGHTS FROM THE UNDERGROUND
This programme features six recent experimental short films made by Burmese filmmakers. Most of the films were made during the pandemic, and some were made with the military coup in mind. At times quirky, spooky, funny and touching, the films mostly avoid dealing directly with these challenging circumstances.
Never before seen in Singapore, they showcase the creativity of a new generation of filmmakers in the country.
Sun 3 Jul | 7:30pm | City Hall Wing, Level B1, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium
The films will be followed by a post-screening dialogue with 3-ACT members, and moderated by Gallery curator Roger Nelson. This dialogue session is pre-recorded.
City Hall Wing, Level B1, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium (National Gallery Singapore)
- Sun 03 Jul | 7.30pm
By Moe Myat May Zarchi
Myanmar | In Burmese with English subtitles | 2019 | 15 min | Rating TBA
Her Mirrors is an impressionistic piece about the decay of a young woman due to her vanity. Enclosed in a dollhouse with no sense of time and space, she becomes increasingly trapped in her own world. Meanwhile, the mirrors in the dollhouse reflect just how polished or broken her own feelings are.
Moe Myat May Zarchi (b.1994, Myanmar) is a filmmaker, a cultural practitioner and an audio-visual artist born and raised in Myanmar. Her films have won awards in festivals such as the Singapore International Film Festival, Vesoul International Film Festival and others. Her new media works have been exhibited at various venues in the UK, Germany, and Myanmar. She founded 3-ACT, a cinema organisation, and also co-founded MATTER audio-visual lab, the first interdisciplinary and experimental arts collective in Myanmar. She loves to explore identity, the metaphysical and the mythical aspects in storytelling through innovative use of visuals and sound.
TOMORROW I WILL GET BACK TO THE WORLD
By Collective (Moe Myat May Zarchi, Lin Htet Aung, Kaung Myat Thu Kyaw, Kyaw Linn Aung, Khin Thethtar Latt, Gabriel Htoo, Thiri May Thu, Griffin Neon, Chris Chan Nyein, Tharaphu Cho Thet)
Myanmar | In Burmese with English subtitles | 2020 | 20 min | PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a filmmaker held a series of conversations with nine others in a day through video chats on Zoom. The result is a screen-recording representation of the collective consciousness and the emotional state during that period. Tomorrow I Will Get Back To The World is a film that experiments with the idea of making use of what is available during restrictive times. It is a visual diary that recounts a day in the life of ten individuals before they enter into a new normal.
This film is made by ten Burmese artists and filmmakers: Moe Myat May Zarchi, Khin Thethtar Latt, Kaung Myat Thu Kyaw, Lin Htet Aung, Chris Chan Nyein, Gabriel, Griffin Neon @ Kaung Sett , Raj , Tharaphu Cho Thet, and Thiri May Thu. It is the result of a collaborative final work from’3-ACT’s “Sculpting the Moving Image: Film Style/Film Form” Mentorship Programme.
By Zune Htet (Thoughtform) and Miedo Total
Myanmar, UK | In Burmese and English with English subtitles | 2022 | 13 min | PG
Inspired by tarot imagery and concepts in alchemy, this video series features the figures of Death, Judgement and the World, and marks the transitional journey from a state of chaos to the birth of a new paradigm.
Zune Htet (b. 1992, Myanmar), also known as Thoughtform, is a multidisciplinary designer and visual artist. She graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore with a BA (Hons) in Design Communication and has been working as a designer, art director and 3D artist ever since. Deeply inspired by nature, science fiction and mythology, she conjures fantastical landscapes of the unfamiliar and unknown through evocative visual narratives in the form of 3D art, motion graphics, and live projections.
Miedo Total (b. 1987, United Kingdom), also known as Alexander Comana, is a Welsh-Italian artist based in London, focusing on sound and performance to merge electronic and organic elements together with dramatic intention. He has created performance work for institutions such as the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff a’d God’s House Tower in Southampton, and has exhibited in galleries throughout the UK. Comana also writes and performs original music under the moniker Miedo Total and has released a number of records on both European and US labels. He hosts a monthly radio show on Internet Public Radio, showcasing a wide variety of experimental music.
By Kaung Myat Thu Kyaw
Myanmar | In Burmese with English subtitles | 2020 | 11 min | PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)
In this film, two sons of a Karen woman who was raped reunite with their father, a former Air Force officer.
Kaung Myat Thu Kyaw (b.1987, Myanmar) is an independent filmmaker. In 2014, he studied filmmaking at Human Dignity Film Institute Myanmar, and joined the Myanmar Script Writing class two years later. He also studied at the local film festival’s Master Class of filmmakers. In 2020, Kaung Myat joined 3-ACT’s “Sculpting the Moving Image: Film Style/Film Form” Mentorship Programme.
By Lin Htet Aung
Myanmar | In Burmese with English subtitles | 2020 | 16 min | PG
A son looks after his dying father in their family home. Stuck there, they face old conflicts that resurface as death slowly approaches.
Lin Htet Aung (b.1998, Myanmar) is a filmmaker and time-based artist based in Myanmar. He started making short films in 2017. In 2020, his short film Estate won the Silver Screen Award for Best Director at the Singapore International Film Festival. His latest short film has been selected for the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen.
MOON LANDING (VERSION 2.0 LONGGYI)
By Moe Myat May Zarchi
Myanmar | In Burmese with English subtitles | 2022 | 6 min | PG
This audio-visual collage work juxtaposes two situations—the first time mankind landed and planted the US flag on the moon, and when Myanmar women first used their skirts (or longgyis) as flags during their revolt against the military coup of 2021. The two concepts are explored in the form of a glitched mashup, stimulating questions about revolution, freedom, claiming spaces, victory, colonisation and outdated patriotism. A malfunctioning version of the American national anthem, “Star Spangled Banner,” and the revolutionary chants of Burmese women stand in contrast, while atmospheric sounds from the NASA moon landing play in the background.
Moe Myat May Zarchi (b.1994, Myanmar) is a filmmaker, a cultural practitioner and an audio-visual artist born and raised in Myanmar. Her films have won awards in festivals such as the Singapore International Film Festival, Vesoul International Film Festival and others. Her new media works have been exhibited at various venues in the UK, Germany, and Myanmar. She founded 3-ACT, a cinema organisation, and also co-founded MATTER audio-visual lab, the first interdisciplinary and experimental arts collective in Myanmar. She loves to explore identity, the metaphysical and the mythical aspects in storytelling through the innovative use of visuals and sound.