“The Lady” is more than just a movie about Burma’s human rights champion Aung San Suu Ki. When it debuts in theaters next spring, it may play a key role in keeping her free of house arrest while she struggles to bring democracy to a land beset by military tyranny since the assassination of her father in 1947.
Currently, U.S. and other international leaders are in intense negotiations about these matters with Burmese officials, who are talking directly with Aung San Suu Ki – a rare occurrence.
“We hope that with all of the international eyes on Burma, that she will be able to get a better life for her people,” says Michelle Yeoh, who portrays Aung San Suu Ki in “The Lady,” which debuted to strong reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. “If there isn’t an international spotlight on this country, the leaders will do whatever they want.”
The film dramatizes Aung San Suu Ki’s battle over the past 15 years – “why she went back to her country, why she stayed there, why they made her choose between family and country,” Yeoh adds in our video chat. See full discussion below. “They tried to break her spirit, make her leave her own country so her people would feel completely abandoned. When you feel abandoned, you lose hope …. But they didn’t understand how resilient she was, how focused, what clarity was in her heart, her soul and mind.”
Photo: Michele Yeoh in “The Lady.” (Europa Corp.)