Burmese filmmaker Tin Win Naing documents the plight of migrants who have fled the civil war in Myanmar for refuge in Thailand, and now toil as plantation workers in conditions tantamount to slave labour.
Tin Win Naing
Naing partnered with producers Yasmin Rams, who joined him on-site for eight months, and Rodney Charles, whose production support rose to the extreme technical challenges of shooting in such sequestered locations. The team's effort shows in every frame of In Exile.
In the work of the best documentary cinematographers, you can feel the person behind the camera transmitting their curiosity, sorrow, or delight. Naing possesses this gift. We experience his sympathy for the migrant children who are sent to work instead of school, and we share his admiration for the parents persevering against adversity. He has an eye for simple pleasures, such as workers celebrating a young couple's wedding, and for expansive images: landscapes, burning crops, the magic hour of the sunset.
Myanmar began a new period of hope in 2010, when stateswoman and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released from years of house arrest. Naing returned to his country and his family, but his subjects are still working in Thailand to this day. This beautiful work of deeply compassionate first-person filmmaking is a testament to their struggle for justice.