Time Out says
Click here to read our interview with 'Burma VJ' director
Recent events on the streets of Tehran have demonstrated just how vital new technologies are becoming in the global struggle for personal and political freedoms. This will come as no surprise to the members of the Democratic Voice of Burma, a loose, underground collective of local news gatherers dedicated to exposing the truth about the repressive tactics practised by their government. Danish documentarian Anders Østergaard's film collects footage shot by DVB activists – plus tastefully integrated recreations – to recall the events of summer 2007, when a popular uprising threatened to spill into outright revolution as the Buddhist monks of Rangoon led their people on to the streets in open protest.
This footage, captured on cheap digital cameras by operators fully aware that, if caught, they would be imprisoned and tortured, and smuggled out of the country to the DVB’s home bases in Bangkok and Copenhagen, is, by its very nature, rough and unprofessional. But it’s also raw, immediate and, at times, overwhelmingly powerful, capturing in remarkable, street-level detail the joyous, optimistic first days of the protest and the vicious crackdown that followed. The characters – including faceless editor-in-exile Joshua – are ordinary people engaged in a desperate struggle, not just for their own survival, but for the future of their country in the face of intolerance at home and ignorance abroad. It’s a flawlessly constructed piece of work, as relentlessly gripping as it is educational, a righteous and even uplifting paean to the continued importance of collective protest, and a stirring testament to individual bravery. For truthseekers everywhere, ‘Burma VJ’ is simply unmissable.