THE ROAD TO MANDALAY
a film by Midi Z
Winner: Best Film, FEDEORA Award, Venice Film Festival 2016
Released in the UK & Ireland 29 Sep 2017
Taiwan-based filmmaker Midi Z returns with his fourth feature, The Road to Mandalay, and arguably his best work to date. Continuing his preoccupation with exiles from Myanmar’s ethnic Chinese minority, this love story follows two illegal immigrants as they resort to human traffickers to help them cross the Mekong river over the border into a less than welcoming Thailand. As they reach Bangkok, Lianqing soon finds herself drifting from one worthless job to another, and she gets closer to fellow illegal immigrant Guo who she met on the journey. With her unwavering determination to obtain identity papers, she soon realises that her hopes for the future are far from his, and ultimately their love is doomed. The Road to Mandalay is a powerful portrait of the trials and tribulations of those seeking to escape conflict and poverty in Myanmar in search of a better life.
An eerie soundscape alongside dreamlike, and almost surreal sequences, amplify the disillusionment, displacement and alienation felt by the characters, while Midi Z’s regular actress Wu Ke-xi gives a striking performance, alongside Taiwanese star Kai Ko. The Road to Mandalay firmly places Midi Z among the top contemporary social realist filmmakers working in Asia today.
Official festival selections:
Venice Film Festival 2016
Toronto International Film Festival 2016
Busan International Film Festival 2016
Little White Lies ★★★★ – “A layered film that demands discussion
and analysis from its viewers.”
Midi Z was born in Myanmar in 1982, and is of Chinese descent. At the age of 16, Midi moved to Taiwan having won a scholarship, and went on to study art. His thesis film Paloma Blanca was screened at various international film festivals. In 2009, he was selected as the leading screenwriter and leading director for the Taipei Golden Horse Film Academy organised by Hou Hsiao-hsien. In 2011, he made his first feature film Return to Burma which was selected for Busan International Film Festival 2011 and had its European premiere in the prestigious Tiger Awards Competition section of International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012. His third feature Ice Poison won the Best International Film Award at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014 and was Taiwan’s official entry for the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film. He subsequently made his first documentary, Jade Miners, which was selected for Taipei International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2015, followed by another documentary, City of Jade, which was selected for the Forum section of Berlinale in 2016. In the same year, he received the award for Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker at the Golden Horse Awards, in recognition of his excellence as a director of both feature films and documentaries, and for his contribution to Taiwanese cinema.
Written & Directed by: Midi Z
Cinematography: Tom Fan
Cast: Kai Ko, Wu Ke-xi, Yue Gai-huan, Wang Shin-hong, Zhao De-fu, Zheng Meng-lan, Pan Zheng-li, Kuang jia-en, Li Wan-wu, Xu De-wei
Production: A Fine Times Entertainment, CMC Entertainment, Seashore Image Productions, Flash Forward Entertainment, House on Fire, Pop Pictures, Myanmar Montage Films, Bombay Berlin Film Prod.
Editor: Matthieu Laclau
Country of production: Taiwan, Myanmar, France, Germany
Running time: 108 mins
Languages: Mandarin, Thai + subtitles
Glasgow Film Festival – 16 Feb 2017 – UK premiere
London – Chinese Visual Festival, BFI Southbank: 11 May 2017 – London premiere
Dublin – Made in Taiwan, Irish Film Institute: 13 May 2017 – Irish premiere
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