Golden Kingdom

Golden Kingdom

Golden Kingdom

directed by Brian Perkins

starring Shine Htet Zaw, Ko Yin Saw Ri, Ko Yin Than Maung |

Even in the middle of a war, there can be pockets of peace. Once such pocket is a small monastery in the mountains of Myanmar where the abbot Sayadaw governs over three very young apprentices. They pray, sweep, and eat minimal meals until one day Sayadaw leaves “to attend to matters of state business.” Big dealing for such a small outfit, I’d say. He heads out over the mysterious pass, leaving the boys to fend for themselves. Only daily food rations from an old man keeps them going. At first they do the goofy stuff kids do when left alone, but soon they start looking outward, and search for Sayawar, only to see ominous troops from a revolution outside of their realm. Things now get weird; Ko Yin Wezananda (Ko Yin Saw Ri) drinks some potion and his fellow fear he may become a tiger. This never happens, but he soon meets a ghost, who turns out to be…Well, after an hour of very little happening, I’ll leave you that precious bit of suspense.

While calm and beautifully shot, this art film is the sort of film that makes the festival circuit and little more. The acting is wonderful, but the story is thin and weakly motivated. Cinematography rules this project, and it’s the real reason to pop for a ticket. You feel sorry for the lost boys, but they do a good job of hanging on, expanding their world, and dealing with it as their understanding permits. On a positive note, you can follow the story fairly well without the minimal subtitles, and directors Perkins does an except job of creating mystery and wonder. I liked the story and all the players, but beyond that warm fuzzy art house glow, this is a light-weight experience.

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