Rare Burmese film screens at Tribeca, 'Ice Poison' focuses on illegal drugs

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Rare Burmese film screens at Tribeca, 'Ice Poison' focuses on illegal drugs

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Burmese-Taiwanese filmmaker Midi Z has unveiled his new film at the Tribeca film festival in New York.

‘Ice Poison’ is the other name for the drug crystal meth in Chinese, and this film tells the story of a poor young farmer in Myanmar lured into the lucrative business of narcotics dealing.

The young film maker has developed a signature style for his intimate portraits of the poverty, drug abuse and aimlessness that plague his homeland.

“Besides budget and cast limitations, I face another major obstacle. I can’t show the movie in public because we did not get permission to shoot it – so the question was, how could we shoot our film without permission, how could you make a film with a hidden camera and almost no budget? In the end, I think the journey element was a way to bypass all those limits – that’s what art is about,” said Midi Z at the screening.

Ang Lee turned up as a surprise guest for the film’s Tribeca screening and praised it. “They have very little money, small camera – digital, 10 days,” said the Oscar-winning director.

“But I think the same way we express our heart, try to communicate, tell our stories, that’s the same. So we’re all in the same family and I’m happy to support movies like this. And I started out that way too, myself.”

The film has received mixed reviews. While some deplore its "grindingly slow pace", others describe it as Midi Z’s "strongest (work) to date".

If released, ‘Ice Poison’ is sure to draw audiences simply on the strength that it’s one of the few feature films originating from Myanmar.

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