Some say people of the country under strict rules love comedies. Myanmar proves that theory. Most of Myanmar films made nowadays fall into comedy genre. Other genres are filmed only to achieve fame and hunt for Academy awards.
Myanmar movie industry has come across a long history dated back to a century ago and started with a documentary capturing the funeral of a famous politician. The first filmmaker of Myanmar is U Ohn Maung who is revered as the Father of Myanmar Cinema.
The first silent film “Love and Liquor” starring Nyi Pu won the majority success despite its poor quality due to inadequate film equipment. The day the film premiered, 13 October, 1920, is celebrated every year as Myanmar Movie Day.
Films then were somewhat strictly censored by the British colonial government. One of the most famous political figures who involved in filming activities was U Nu, who later became the Prime Minister. He directed the movie starring famous student leaders including Ko Aung San who later become a national leader Bogyoke Aung San. U Nu, who served as a socialist leader also wrote script for a anti-communist propaganda movie.
The most famous movie figure in cold war era is U Thukha who filmed the blockbuster “The Life Cycle”. The first Academy awards were presented in 1952. Since 1962, Myanmar films were put under strict censorship rules.
In these years, filmmakers are shooting budget comedy films and direct-to-video films to lure annoying viewers back to cinemas, which are one of the nearly extinct species in Myanmar.
Making movies jointly with a foreign company is rare in Myanmar. The only significant one is “Blood” filmed by a Japanese company. Myanmar’s information ministry is now shooting a TV series in joint venture with a Chinese company.
With recent relaxed censorship and the newly elected governing body of Myanmar movie industry, it is hoped that Myanmar movie industry may make a profit from recent reforms.