As we travel through the nation’s expansive landscape, we are given a glimpse into the daily life of its people
In Southeast Asia, just beneath China’s southern lines, lies Myanmar, which also shares its borders with Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand. Impossibly beautiful with its ethereal mountainscapes and lagoonal features, Myanmar is a nation rife with political turmoil. In February, a military coup upheaved the country’s nascent democracy, installing a military dictatorship, or statocracy, imprisoning the nation’s duly-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar is a nation that has undergone various iterations of government since gaining its mid-century independence from British rule.
To remind us of Myanmar’s expansive landscape, airy waterways, and the deeply felt kinship of its people, filmmaker Adriana Cuenca takes us on a rich and diaristic journey through the Southeast Asian nation. Textural and intimate, the film explores the brighter side of human connection as we venture through easternmost passages to discover a world of vibrant, unvarnished harmony and humanity.
Moved by the music of Anna Von Hausswolff, Cuenca takes us through southern Myanmar—including Mandalay, the nation’s second-largest city, and Inle Lake, known for its floating market and Intha fisherman, who specialize in shallow river fishing. “I think that when we travel, we are always passing through. And although we want to make that moment our own experience, passing through becomes an opportunity for observing and paying attention,” she comments.
Cuenca, a Barcelona-based filmmaker, wrote an accompanying poem, which locals helped translate, telling Document: “I got in touch with the people we met in Myanmar. They helped me translate the text and Mrs. May, a native of Myanmar, recorded the voice for the video.” As we voyage through its rich rivers and discover Myanmar’s inner peace, we are given a glimpse into the daily lives of Burmese men, women, and children, who exude comity, embrace community, and radiate compassion.