// Presented as part of Filmatique's Locarno Open Doors Series //
Exclusive Interview with The Maw Naing
Spotlight on The Monk
Maw Naing / Myanmat, 2014 / Karlovy Vary, Jihlava, Sakhalin, Singapore / 90'
Rescued from the streets of Yangon as a boy, Zawana is now an adolescent living in a rural monastery in Myanmar. Though his abbot U Dahma has become ill and the monastery, like the surrounding community, fallen into victim to poverty and hardship, Zawana is in the midst of a crisis of faith— he remains unsure whether the path of the monk is right for him. Temptation arrives in the form of a local girl, as do modern conveniences like a borrowed MP3 player. Meanwhile Zawana becomes responsible for taking the man who rescued him back to the bright lights of contemporary Yangon.
The Monk is a naturalistic meditation on identity, existence and faith inside the rarely-seen, hermetic world of Myanmar, shown through the eyes of a young man on the brink of adulthood. The first independent feature from Myanmar in 50 years, Maw Naing's feature film debut premiered at Karlovy Vary, Jihlava, Sakhalin and Singapore.
"The Monk is a fascinating movie which looks at the role of Buddhism in a secular society and, in doing so, draws parallels between it's narrative and a nation looking to find an identity in a hyper-modern, gloablized world too... boasts a grand, national narrative told metonymically through a languid and intimate tale. Featuring documentary-esque aesthetics and a sense of realism in the way the camera frames the action... rewarding and poetic"
- Kieron Casey, Film Review, The Totality