Cinequest 22 opening night: The Lady

The Lady was the opening night film of Cinequest 22, screened in San Jose’s historic California Theater. Unlike opening night most years, things seemed to be operating smoothly, with the evening starting on time and no glitches in the sound system. Before the movie, the festival’s primary founder, Halfdan Hussey, spoke briefly. The other founder, Kathleen Powell, brought a group of Egyptian women up on stage, and I found out that George W. Bush may be a better ex-President than I would have guessed (the women are the inaugural class of his Women’s Initiative Fellows).

The film, directed by the unlikely Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), tells the story of Aung San Suu Kyi. Her father was a very popular leader in Burma, but he was assassinated in 1947 when she was only two years old. She lived in various places and married an English writer named Michael Aris in 1972. She returned to Burma in 1988 to see her mother, who was dying. The film essentially starts at this point, covering her dedication to the Burmese people and to her husband.

Aung San Suu Kyi is played by Michelle Yeoh, and her husband is played by David Thewlis, both of whom are quite good here. I had heard of the Buddhist monk uprising in 2007, but had never heard about Aung San Suu Kyi before, so I was very glad to have seen the film. It seemed to drag a bit in the middle, but by the end I was very invested in all of the main people in the film. I’ll give it a strong out of .

Seen on 2/28/2012 at Cinequest.

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