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Director: Star of New Aung San Suu Kyi Biopic Banned From Burma

Hillary Clinton touched down in Burma this week, marking the first time a U.S. Secretary of State has visited the nation isince the army takeover in 1962. Clinton was expected to meet Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein on her two-day visit.

Coincidentally, “The Lady,” a biopic surrounding the tumultuous private life of Myanmar's democracy leader Suu Kyi and her family is being released in Los Angeles on Friday for a one-week qualifying run for the Oscars on the very same day Clinton departs the country.

“The position of the U.S. government has been for quite a long time in favor of the fight for Democracy in Burma. Hillary Clinton’s visit on the day of the film’s release in the U.S. proves that the present situation in Burma is a hot subject,” director Luc Besson told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “We hope that the film will put some light on what happened before to make people understand better how fragile the situation of Aung San can still be in Burma. We must all keep some vigilance of the situation in this country.”

“The Lady” is an epic story of the peaceful quest of the woman who remains at the core of Burma’s democracy movement, who was first placed under house arrest at her home in Rangoon in 1989 and released only in November last year, despite having won the country’s general election in 1990, after which the military refused to hand over power. 

According to the director, the actress who played Suu Kyi, Malaysian-born former “Bond” girl Michelle Yeoh, has since been refused entry into the troubled country at Rangoon airport. However he says great measures have been taken to protect all involved in the production.

“Our first priority was to preserve Aung San and her family’s security. The whole shooting has been made secretly. Many actors and stand-ins did not want to be credited in order not to harm any members of their families still living in Burma,” Besson said.

The film shows the country’s generals and the Burmese junta, who have ruled the country for the past 60 years, as well as the tension-filled relationship between Suu Kyi and the military. 

“We relied on Amnesty International’s extremely well-documented reports about the hundreds of thousands of imprisoned Burmans by those who, liberated after a few years, were able to tell their story,” Besson continued. “But I have to say the film is quite toned down with respect to the generals, because I think that some of the stories we learned of were so savage, that they would have lost all credibility.”

Politics aside, “The Lady” functions as a poignant love story about college sweethearts who, despite distance, long separations and a dangerously hostile regime, stay loyal to the very end. Suu Kyi’s cancer-ridden British husband, academic Dr. Michael Aris (played by David Thewlis) was refused a visa to see his imprisoned wife despite appeals from United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, and died on his 53rd Birthday in 1999.  Suu Kyi was also separated from their two young sons throughout most of their childhood.

“We hope people will be moved by this story, I can say that all people who worked on the making of this film have been changed,” Besson added. “Most importantly, I hope audiences realize that love is the strongest weapon of all.”

 

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