Malaysian born director, writer, producer and editor, Desiree Lim, has used her journalism background to create a powerful two-part film, which aims to raise awareness about the troubles faced by many Burmese refugees. Home is an informative and heartbreaking docu-drama which explores the lives and experiences of Burmese refugees who have fled to Malaysia to escape the rule of the military junta.
The first 20 minutes is comprised of a short drama based on real events. The camera follows a Burmese woman who is forced to trek through jungles in order to escape her homeland to reach Malaysia. The frantic hand held camera style is used effectively to create a sense of real panic for the audience. From the claustrophobic living environments to the violent police raids, we follow this woman as she literally runs to supposed “freedom.”
The second part of the film is a documentary which exposes the complete lack of basic human rights being given to Burmese citizens who are now living in Malaysia. Instead of merely offering the statistics – for example, that there are over 100 thousand Burmese refugees in Malaysia – Lim uses many candid interviews with real victims to make their experiences feel more real to her audiences. Roi Roi, Sai Seng, Kai Than, Zau Phang, Li Lee, Chin, Lulu, Mi Kai and Po Kai, are the voices of her film. One of the women recounts being raped by authorities. One of the men talks about how he was kidnapped for ransom and was only let go because he had the money to pay the authorities.
While these refugees share their horrifying stories, it is nearly impossible not to feel a whole slew of emotions from shock to frustration to anger towards those causing them such anxiety and pain. Their bravery, perseverance and resilience to carry on is utterly remarkable. After being subjected to constant brutality and torment by corrupt police officers – physically, emotionally and sexually – each one of these fearful refugees stares into Lim’s camera and expresses their desire to be back in Burma.
Lim uses a famous Einstein quote, which really sums up her film. “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” Lim proves that she is determined to do something about it by giving a voice to thousands of suffering refugees.
The film will screen tomorrow night at 6:30pm at Innis Town Hall as part of the Reel Asian Film Festival. Director, Desiree Lim, will be in attendance and following the screening she will hold an artist talk as well as show clips from her other projects.