Jailed Burmese actress wins top prize at German Film Festival

Eaindra Kyaw Zin and her husband Pyay Ti Oo.

Through The Irrawaddy September 20, 2021

Imprisoned Burmese actress Eaindra Kyaw Zin won the award for best performance at the Oldenburg International Film Festival in Germany.

The famous actress was arrested and jailed for anti-regime activities in early April and is currently spending her 164th day in Insein Prison in Yangon, alongside thousands of other political prisoners.

She won the Seymour Cassel Best Performance Award for the melodrama What Happened to the Wolf? The film follows two women who meet and fall in love while they are patients in a terminally ill hospital, with Eaindra Kyaw Zin and fellow Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Award winner Paing Phyoe Thu playing the women.

At the opening ceremony of the Oldenburg International Film Festival on September 15, festival director Torsten Neumann and others wore t-shirts in honor of the detained actress.

Poster of What Happened to the Wolf?

Eaindra Kyaw Zin is one of the most prominent supporters of the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). She was arrested along with her husband Pyay Ti Oo, who is also a famous actor. Both men face three years in prison for sedition for opposing military rule

The couple, reputed to be Myanmar’s highest-paid actor, joined street protests demanding a return to democracy following the junta’s February 1 coup. They urged officials to refuse to work for the regime and join the CDM.

What happened to the wolf? is directed and produced by Na Gyi, who directed the film before the coup. Na Gyi, along with his wife Paing Phyoe Thu, is in hiding after sedition arrest warrants were issued against the couple for allegedly using their celebrity status to oppose the coup. Two other actors in the film are also in hiding, Kyaw Htet Aung and Aung Myint Myat.

Paing Phyoe Thu was also nominated for the Seymour Cassel Award for Best Performance.

The other star of the film Paing Phyoe Thu. Photo director Na Gyi (middle).

“What happened to Na Gyi’s wolf?” and the performances of the main actresses took our breath away, ”said Deborah Kara Unger, award-winning actress and festival jury member, as she announced the award.

“We celebrate it [Eaindra Kyaw Zin] his elegance, his soul, his inestimable gift to the cinema with the hope that it will reach him “, she added.

More than 8,200 civilians, including protesters, activists, politicians and celebrities, have been detained by the junta since the coup. Some 2,000 other people are the subject of arrest warrants.

The junta also banned the screening, broadcasting or publication of works by artists arrested or wanted for their involvement in anti-regime activities.

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