Burma Slowly

Title: Burma slowly

Genre: Ethnographic and travel documentary with narration

Running time: 92 minutes

Format: 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; colour; stereo soundtrack

Tagline: Burma is one of the most exotic and fascinating locations imaginable – come and see it up close


This rarely visited country is known as Myanmar these days, but many of us still know it as Burma.

Burma is easily one of the most exotic and fascinating locations imaginable – the mere mention of it conjures up images of golden pagodas, dark jungles and the wide, brown Irrawaddy River.

Come and see Burma up close, travelling on foot and by trishaw, longboat and horse cart.

We start in bustling Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, then head 900km north to Mandalay and Mingun.  At nearby Sagaing, we see the dozens of dazzling pagodas that line the ridge top  

At Amarapura, quite near to Mandalay, we’re up well before dawn to see the sun rise over the world’s longest wooden bridge.  We then board the so-called fast boat for an 11-hour trip downriver from Mandalay to Bagan, where there’s more than 4,000 temples clustered on the Irrawaddy floodplain.  We fly low and slow over Bagan at dawn in a hot air balloon, then wend our way along dusty lanes in our horse cart to see temples rarely visited by tourists.  We brave the clambering monkeys and climb the 777 steps to the shrine atop Mount Popa; and at Nyaung U we watch a Buddhist novice procession pass close-by.

We then head 350km east to Inle Lake, famous for its floating gardens. At Inle we fly in a hot air balloon at dawn over the lake before clambering into our longboat; we explore the floating bamboo villages around the lake, visit Inthein and wander through the thousand ancient stupas, and watch the local fishermen practice their unique style of leg rowing.  Finally, we set out in the longboat in the cold and the dark for a 3½ hour trip south, beyond the end of Inle Lake, to Samkar, an isolated village where very few tourists go.  Along the way we stop at the five-day moving market, so far off the beaten tourist track that many of the locals have never met a foreigner.

About the Presenter:

When Arnold left school in the early 1970’s he really wanted to be a cinematographer, but this didn’t happen.  Instead, he established his own software engineering business.  Arnold had cultivated technical and artistic interests in cinematography and editing since his mid-teens, so when he sold his software company in 2008, he decided to become a film maker.  As well as creating his own observational travel and ethnographic documentaries, Arnold was a founder and the president of the Eumundi World Cinema film society.  Arnold was also one of the founders and the festival curator for the Noosa International Film Festival in 2016 and 2017, and technical consultant for the festival in 2018.  Arnold has won an international prize for his cinematography and his films have been televised in Shanghai, Charlotte and San Francisco.

Posted in Friday Talks.