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Daily Archives: November 6, 2011
Starring Michelle Yeoh as Burmese political activist Aung San Suu Kyi, “The Lady’ isn’t just Luc Besson’s return to directing and American audiences after a not-inconsiderable 5-year absence spent directing animation and one live-action film that never even opened in America, nor is it just a suitably big-budget companion piece to the underground (in this case, quite literally, and at risk to people’s lives) documentary “Burma VJ.” It is also, in its own right, a stirring example of what happens when a talented filmmaker creates a vision of politics and activism in the here-and-now. This isn’t “Mississippi Burning,” or “The King’s Speech” — history held at arm’s length in big letters, so you can read it with weary eyes. “The Lady” is sweeping and big, full of violence and strong statements, but it also takes place in a white-hot now, real as gunpowder or swear; it makes being a liberal citizen — voting, speaking, assembling peacefully — into a set of tasks as challenging, or as dangerous, as anything in some fantasy action film. Think of it as a pacifist companion piece to Besson’s “La Femme Nikita,” where violent men are opposed by a strong woman, and a human one, with nothing stronger — and nothing more dangerous — than the rights of free humans and the conviction that they’re doing the right thing.