Film Screening 8th August, 2012

Poster for The Lady

The Lady 

8:00 PM, 8th August, 2012

  • M
  • 132 mins
  • 2011
  • Luc Besson
  • Rebecca Frayn
  • Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett


Suu Kyi is the daughter of Burmese national hero General Aung San, who led Burma to democratic independence in the years after the war. As presented in the film, her earliest memory is of her father being assassinated by rivals (she's certainly unlikely to have any memories earlier than that; I checked the dates - she would have been two years old) who turn the country into a military dictatorship. Years later, the adult Suu Kyi (Yeoh) is living in England, married to an English academic (Thewlis) and mother of two English teenage boys. She returns to Burma to visit her mother and, more or less by accident, finds herself leading the League for Democracy and, ultimately, the country - although for a couple of decades she's 'leading' from her home, under house arrest.

In a way this is a strange film for director Luc Besson to have made. Master of a kind of slick, flashy crowd-pleaser that native French critics contemptuously called 'cinema du look' - its apotheosis is Besson's most famous movie, The Fifth Element - he's now made something straightforward, unpretentious, so true to the facts you can imagine the director didn't have to make any decisions at all; about all that remains of the old Besson is that he's never in danger of being dull. One reason it's as involving as it is, I think, is that it's told as the husband's story as well as Suu Kyi's - it's just as much the story of how frustrated he is being free as it is of her frustration with imprisonment.

Henry Fitzgerald