Director: Midi Z
Starring: Kai Ko, Ke-Xi Wu
Running Time: 101 mins
Release Date: 29th September
THE ROAD TO MANDALAY follows a young woman as she leaves her home country of Myanmar to earn money in Thailand. She tries desperately to find work so she can send money back to her family, but quickly realises finding a well-paid job without the right documentation is harder than she thought.
Lianqing travels to Thailand to earn money for her family back in Myanmar. She meets Guo on the road and he quickly shows interest in her. The film explains the hardships of illegal immigrants in a matter-of-fact way, showing the steps Lianqing tries to take to gain citizenship in Thailand and the help she receives from Guo.
Unfortunately, The Road to Mandalay drags a little bit. Shots linger for a long time and there are drawn out scenes where nothing really happens. It can be quite frustrating, but the story keeps you invested. After seeing Lianqing go through the rough immigration process, spending huge amounts of money, you begin to really care about her and hope she succeeds. After finding jobs in a factory, the young couple realise their goals are actually very different.
The film is shot really well and creates a bleak, depressing atmosphere that matches the overall tone of the film. The Road to Mandalay certainly isn’t the feel-good film of the year, but it does represent an incredibly topical issue and it fairly and honestly conveys the tough hardships people face.
The film’s final act takes a dramatic and unexpected turn, which will stay with you for a while.
Overall, The Road to Mandalay paints a stark and bleak portrait of the struggles young Burmese people face as immigrants.