Synopsis: “Mi” has nothing to lose. Everything to gain. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she is winning in life. “Mi” is dying of Tuberculosis (TB), a disease with no cure at the time, (Post War Period). “Mi” couldn’t care less, with cigarettes and brandy as her close companions. Post-WWII Rangoon nightlife is her playground. She is popular among upper-classmen and known for her cleverness and abilities to fool men. No one knows her true back story.
Still, most men fall for her. Even though they knew that she could fool them, men are always after “Mi”. Among those men, Mg Ko Lay is the young, naïve one and madly in love with “Mi” who treats him the same as other men. Unable to stand the emotional toll being with Mi causes him, Mg Ko Lay runs away from “Mi” by taking a job at a timber camp in the jungle, far away from Rangoon. There, he met Ko Thaw Swe who is his boss, and treated Mg Ko Lay like his own brother. From Mg Ko Lay’s nightly heartbroken confessions, Ko Thaw Swe gets to know “Mi”. Not helping for Mg Ko Lay is “Mi” writing regular taunting letters to him. One day, Mg Ko Lay committed suicide. Thaw Swe got fired because of the incident.
Thaw Swe really wants to meet “Mi” who could drive a man to his own death. Thaw Swe came to Ran- goon, wanting to teach “Mi” a lesson. When they meet, everything changes. Thaw Swe learns stories of “Mi” from a lot of different men. Each man has different stories of “Mi”. Thaw Swe could not figure out which one is true. Even though Thaw Swe knows “Mi” is fooling him, he, too, can’t help getting attracted to “Mi”. He soon realizes that he is becoming like Mg Ko Lay and he finds himself trying to rescue “Mi” from her bad environment.
But there is so much more that he doesn’t know about “Mi”. Later he gets tangled in a Murder Case of a rich man who has a connection with Mi. Is Mi innocent? Mi is dying anyway. What’s the motive? Thaw Swe doesn’t understand “Mi” from the beginning. “Mi” doesn’t try to prove her innocence either. Yet, Thaw Swe becomes an intimate player in the web of mystery that “Mi” has laid out, rife with dangers, corruptions, and deceits. Meanwhile, “Mi” has what she thinks is a bigger problem than any other things, doubting her existence. Will Thaw Swe able to help Mi? The real question is, “Does Mi really want to be helped?”
Nay Toe (Thaw Swe)
This is my very first feature film. To be able to shoot this feature in Myanmar, I had to wait through quite a lot of phases. I had to shoot music videos, TV commercials, and short films to survive in the industry. But my dream always has been the feature. After 9 years, I am confident enough and gained trust from the productions to shoot a feature. Still, it is very hard to pitch this kind of genre in Myanmar. Myanmar Cinemas are swamped with comedies and horrors.
Besides, I chose a character-driven script that is not familiar to the Myanmar film audience. The story is there. But the dying, the murder, and all the plots are not highlighted. This film is brutally about “Mi”. It was very risky for the production as well. The story is based on the novel of Kyi Aye who was really popular in Myanmar Literature around the 1950s and 60s. The book itself is 70 years old. It’s been a while that we see a period film in Myanmar. I think it’s because of the budget size, and besides, there are no professional teams for production design, wardrobe, and makeup, etc. But I decided to make this film a period piece even though I knew it would be a lot harder. If I change the time, the story would lose some of its value.
So I had to convince my friends who are also filmmakers to help me. Most of them are directors. They helped me in wardrobe and production design. Thanks to them, the production value of the film is at this level despite the budget. I was pushing myself a lot. You could see that in the film. I wrote the script myself, directed, produced, and was the DP for the film as well. So that I could spend more money on production. I had to make it happened. It was hard to shoot 1950s scenes in Myanmar. Because there are lamp posts, signboards, and CCTVs everywhere. I had to plan all the shots carefully in location scouts to avoid those clusters or decide whether we would remove them in post.
But above are not the hardest part of making “Mi”. My challenge was to capture someone’s boredom, hopelessness, and misery, then not to be boring at the same time. This film is all about Mi’s existence. Monologue in the book is fun. But to shoot a character’s thoughts in the film is another story. Images and montages are my tools. “Kyi Aye” told the story of “Mi” only through the men characters in the book. But it’s just through their thoughts, opinions, and private feelings. So the story of “Mi” is varies depending on the teller. The information we get is very unreliable. We could easily believe them or not. In that way, we could create our own “Mi”. I tried to keep it that way in my film. Well, at least I tried.
Na Gyi, the founder and director of Greenman Production & Fatty Gangster Production, has produced and directed feature films, music videos, and television commercials. Before becoming a filmmaker, Na Gyi worked for 8 years as Director and Producer at Pin Lel Production. He founded his own production, Fatty Gangster Production in 2019.
Na Gyi’s films include:
“Mi” (2018) which won Best Director of Photography at ASEAN International Film Festival, Best Director of Photography and Best Actress at Stars Awards (Local Academy Awards), and nominated for Best Picture at ASEAN International Film Festival.
“Where do you come from, What are you doing and Where are you going?” (2012)
and “London Tale” (2008).
“Mi” (2018) was screened for ASEAN Cinema Week in Seoul, Busan, Jeju island, and Gwangju (South Korea) in 2019.
Na Gyi participated as Video Artist in Digital Art Festival which is the French-German Cultural Program in Third Countries (7th edition) with DJ Jay (Electronic Music, Myanmar), Doshy (Electronic Music, Germany), Kukue (Graphic Art, Myanmar), Pablito Zago (Graphic Art, France), Raspel (Video Art, Germany), The Unik (Electronic Music, France) and Two Twenty (Graphic Art, Myanmar) in November 2009 at Alliance Francis, Myanmar.
Na Gyi was born in Yangon, Myanmar in 1981. He passed matriculation from BEHS (1), Dagon in 1998. During the study of engineering at Yangon Technology University, he left for London in 1999 for further study. He studied DIGITAL FILMMAKING at Raindance, London (2007).