After filming political footage, a Myanmar filmmaker must flee his country. As refugee amongst refugees in Thailand, his camera becomes the most important tool to survive and overcome the many days away from home.
" 'In Exile' is a real modern-day 'Grapes of Wrath' " - NonFics
After filming political footage, Myanmar filmmaker Tin Win Naing must flee his country. Unsure whether he will ever be able to see his family again, he crosses the border illegally, entering Thailand. Upon his arrival, he is astonished to see how many of his fellow countrymen have escaped the disastrous economic situation in Myanmar, only to find themselves trapped on the other side of the border, working under conditions of modern slavery. Their numbers range from 2 to 3 million.
Touched by their fates, Tin Win Naing's only way to cope with this is to film.
In In Exile he follows three Myanmar migrant workers in their struggle for survival. Ma Cho and Ko Zaw, the couple living under conditions of modern slavery; Kyaw Moe Win, the 12 years-old boy dreaming of going back to school; and Myint Thein, the restless migrant worker who out of desparation has worked in terrible conditions all over the globe already. Together with Tin Win Naing, we witness how they are exploited ruthlessly through back-breaking farm labour for a nominal daily salary - if any salary at all. They live in constant fear of the police and are vilified by most Thais. From the economic desert of Myanmar, they travelled into modern Thailand - where they are deserted of their human rights - hoping to find greener pastures and a future for the families they have left behind.
The award-winning filmmaker - a refugee amongst refugees - observes his compatriots in close and empathetic detail. In Exile takes us on a deeply felt journey into the hearts and minds of a people who have been tormented by Myanmar's military dictatorship for decades and who are now mistreated in a new foreign home. In spite of this, however, they have emerged as fighters – fighters against despair. We get a beautiful insight in to how they keep their spirits and culture alive.
Whilst representing the urban, politicized perspective, embodied by Tin Win Naing, alongside the rural perspective, embodied by the protagonists, "In Exile" mirrors Myanmar’s predicament: Whilst a small politicized class is fighting in the cities for democracy, the lower income population turned into Myanmar’s liver absorbing the poison of colonial legacy, economic mismanagement, decades-long isolation, corruption and international sanctions. Today, they lack education and future prospects, every day being a poisoned struggle in pursuit of the ability to function healthily again.
In Exile is supported by: