There is no question that, if we are to judge by festival juries alone, Anders Østergaard’s BURMA VJ is the most acclaimed film of the last six months. Beginning with its back-to-back jury wins at Copenhagen and IDFA, followed in January by the Editing Prize at Sundance and, finally, the Grand Jury Prize at Full Frame. HBO acquired the rights to the film just before Sundance and Oscilloscope will be releasing the film this month, with a kick off at NYC’s Film Forum.
I was both early and late to the BURMA VJ party. The first night of my arrival in Copenhagen, I was sitting in the hotel lobby drinking wine with other attendees when Matt Dentler told me that there was a film that everyone was talking about, the film of the festival. So I wasn’t surprised to hear BURMA VJ called out twice as a winner a couple of nights later at the awards ceremonies.
But I didn’t get a chance to see BURMA VJ at Copenhagen, nor at Sundance, nor at True/False, nor at SXSW (our colleague Nathan Truesdell wrote about the film last month), so when I finally grabbed my seat at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto the other night, I had high expectations. Very high. Maybe too high.