THU 22 SEP | 7:15pm / Singapore Premiere
Burmese with English subtitles
Director: Brian Perkins
Four orphan boys, all novice monks, live in a Buddhist monastery in the remote mountains of Northeast Myanmar. The head monk departs on a long journey from which he may never return. Once the boys are on their own, magical phenomena begin to occur. Witazara, the eldest, realises he must protect the three other boys, as a series of peculiar events threatens to unravel the fabric of the young monks’ reality.
Shot entirely in Myanmar with non-actors, this surreal coming-of-age story unfolds from a forgotten part of the world where there is neither electricity nor telephone. Merged with elements of ethnographic documentary, Golden Kingdom opens insights into a previously unseen Myanmar that is transforming by the moment.
American filmmaker Brian Perkins has traveled extensively through the remote parts of Asia and India. After creating a network of relationships in the monasteries and villages of Myanmar — picking up conversational Burmese along the way — he was in a unique position to bring Golden Kingdom to audiences.
While a graduate student at UC-Berkeley, Brian received the Eisner Prize in Film and Video, and was recipient of numerous acknowledgements during his studies at New York University. Born in 1980 in Portland, Oregon, USA, Brian currently lives in Berlin and Asia. Golden Kingdom is Brian’s debut feature film.
The origins of Golden Kingdom date from my first contact with the Swel Tal monastery in Myanmar. Encountering the young boys there – often orphans – living as monks, I was overwhelmed. I had never met anyone with such radically opened hearts. And these were children, living largely self-sufficient amongst each other (yet still up to the tricks of children), with no possessions, no family present. All of this was set against the compelling backdrop of a nation in radical transformation, convulsion, and often violent self-discovery.
The story at the root of Golden Kingdom came to me. I needed to honour the structure and form of their lives, spirit, and Buddhist traditions, and I found in film a willing partner.