A Burmese collective recounts life after the coup at the Berlinale

BERLIN, Feb 14 (Reuters) – You find out you’re pregnant, but should you tell your boyfriend, who is off to the jungle in a few hours to train with forces fighting the Burmese junta following a a police raid on his safe house?

The police beat a protester in front of your house. Keep filming and risk them noticing, bringing the regime’s wrath down on you and everyone you love. Or do you listen to your family’s pleas to get away from the window and hide?

Here are some of the scenarios explored in Myanmar Diaries, a documentary by the Myanmar Collective, 10 anonymous young filmmakers who have set out to document life in the country since last year’s military coup.

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The film, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, documents the growing harshness of repression in the country since last year’s February 1 coup, which followed a landslide victory by the forces of the opposition in a national election.

“We had to improvise because we didn’t know how things would go down the drain,” said a member of the collective, who asked not to be identified for his safety.

“The first two or three weeks of the coup, the atmosphere was almost festive,” said the MP.

“When the military junta started to respond with violence, that’s when it became more dangerous… Our style of directing had to evolve.”

Danger and the Need for Secrecy make for a rambling 70 minutes, with some segments documentary-style, while other passages are miniature dramas or have the feel of an art installation.

“Various filmmakers involved different kinds of storytellers,” said Dutch producer Coronne van Egeraat, who along with her husband coordinated the work. “But we did the whole thing by just communicating how we were going to set it up.”

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Reporting by Swantje Stein, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by William Maclean

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