Can Myanmar cinema get a second act?
The industry flourished well into junta rule, with lavish productions and movie houses packed with audiences hungry for homegrown fare. But starting in the 1970s a combination of factors started the downhill slide to where the industry is now a pale shadow of its glorious past
During its 93-year history, Myanmar's film industry has experienced more than its fair share of ups and downs. However, to say that its downward spiral began following the 1962 coup that brought the military and a socialist regime to power _ as many commentators contend _ isn't entirely accurate. Total shutdowns preceded the coup and an arguably more sinister atmosphere developed decades afterwards it.
FLIGHT OF ROMANCE: A poster at the Myanmar Motion Picture Museum from an early romantic film. The genre was extremely popular in the 1920s and ’30s, as were historical films and family dramas. PHOTO: JESSICA MUDDITT
Things started well _ very well. Its first film studio, the Burma (Myanmar) Film Co, screened the nation's first feature film Love and Liquor on Oct 13, 1920, a date that continues to be commemorated annually as Movie Day. As early as 1920, Myanmar actresses went abroad to star in Indian and Japanese films, and by 1932 the industry had graduated from silent films to sound. Bollywood followed suit a year later.
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