MTV “Burma”

Created to express a message of support to the citizens of Burma (otherwise now known as Myanmar) living under a military junta, this short haunting film was held up from being released, due to a new crisis — cyclone Nargis. So add “ravaged by cyclone” to the food shortages and other oppressive conditions facing the nation. While aid to Burma has been hampered by military authorities, the Red Cross estimates that there could be more than 100,000 dead. In the wake of the news, MTV International and O&M Amsterdam amended the message in the spot’s final title card, and the result is even more powerful. It opens on an ominious military scene-bomber jets taking off in the dark of night, flying in formation, preparing for what looks to be a D-Day style bombing. Except the music is not Wagnerian and warlike — rather it’s Chopin — two beautiful nocturnes for piano. As the planes approach the tops of the beautiful temples of Burma, we see that their load is not warlike either. They start dropping hundreds of red flowers, and we watch the petals swirl as they hit the ground. The final title card says:

TO THE PEACE LOVING PEOPLE OF BURMA WE SUPPORT YOU IN THIS TIME OF CRISIS.

FROM ALL YOUR FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD.

BURMA EMERGENCY. TO DONATE MTVBURMAACTION.COM.

The message strikes exactly the right tone. This is not about politics. This is about humanity. And the film tells a regenerative story.

–Barbara Lippert